How to Tell if Flood Water Has Damaged Your Vehicle

Flood Water Damage to Cars: What you Need to Know

Heavy rain can lead to waterlogged areas of road. Vehicles parked next to rivers that have burst their banks or in housing estates with pour drainage can suffer greatly, with cars in floods often experiencing significant damage. Everything from the electrical system to the engine, brakes, starter motors and catalytic converters can stop working if they’ve been exposed to water, so here’s how to tell if your vehicle could be dangerous to drive.

  • Check the electrics

Whether you’re buying a used car and want to be sure it’s not experienced flood damage or are inspecting your vehicle after heavy rain, always check out the electrics. If the car has been flooded, it’s likely that some or all of the electrics won’t work, so turn on the lights, wind down the electric windows, flick the indicators and ensure that no warning lights are showing on the dashboard when the engine is on. If you spot any problems at all, further investigation is needed.

  • Check for damp

If your car smells damp, the carpet is wet or there’s water in the footwells, water has clearly accessed your car and therefore all elements of your vehicle need to be inspected thoroughly. If you can smell damp when looking at a pre-owned vehicle, take this as a warning. There may be more damage than you’re aware of due to a previous flooding incident.

Top tip: Don’t simply let carpets and seats dry out themselves. Without a professional clean, they’ll quickly grow mildew and it will be really hard to get rid of that terrible damp odour.

  • Check the oil

Driving a waterlogged vehicle is not only dangerous but it could cause even more damage. So, before you make that first journey after a flood, always check the engine oil and transmission fluid by pulling out the dipsticks. If the fluid looks milky, is diluted or has changed colour, it could be contaminated with floodwater and needs to be evaluated by a professional technician.

  • Listen to the engine

If your car is making strange noises, this is a sign of a flooded car engine – especially if there’s a white, mayonnaise-like deposit underneath the oil filter cap and loads of water under the bonnet. A waterlogged engine is dangerous, so call a mechanic to check your vehicle over and make any relevant repairs. Note that while excessive rainwater can cause such problems, driving through flood water car damage is also a common occurrence, so be extra vigilant if you’ve had to plough your vehicle through a large bank of water.

  • Put the heating on

Another way to tell if your car has been flooded and needs urgent attention is to turn the heating on. Trapped water in the heating and ventilation system will cause excess condensation, so you can check to see if the windows steam up.

Whether you’re looking for high-quality used cars or the best car finance deals, contact Carwise Group today, a reputable used car dealership based in Harlow and Maidstone. Offering exceptional vehicles at affordable prices, all with the correct documentation, it’s easy to see why buying from a dealership is often considered safer than through a private seller.