Education & Safety

Water Damage and Your Vehicle

Here comes the rain


Spring showers are good for plants, flowers and crops, but heavy rain can lead to problems for your car. Whether you get caught in a flash flood or drive your car through a deep puddle, water can do a tremendous amount of damage to your vehicle. Read on to learn what you should do if your car is submerged in water and what you can do to avoid water problems.

Water – your car’s enemy


Water and the sophisticated parts and systems of your vehicle don’t mix; prolonged water exposure can lead to a host of problems for your vehicle. You could experience damage like:

  • Engine problems
  • Electrical system failure
  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Corrosion and rust
  • Seizure of parts like wheel bearings

What to do


If your vehicle has been submerged in water, time is of the essence. The quicker you act, the better chance you have in avoiding permanent damage to your car. 


Get the water out – Start by getting any standing water out of your vehicle. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess water. Take out the floor mats and hang them up to dry. If there was standing water on the carpet, remove it and hang it to dry. You’ll likely need to remove the console, seats and some plastic trim.


Dry out – Now it’s time to dry out your car. You can open the doors and let it air dry or you can use a couple of high-powered fans to speed up the process. Once your vehicle is dry, put everything back in that you had to take out.


Check the electrical system – To ensure that your car’s electrical system came through unscathed, you’ll want to test the various lights, knobs, controls and buttons in your vehicle. Check the dashboard lights, are there any new ones lit up that need to be investigated? Test all controls such as the lights, locks, windows, power seats, emergency brake, climate controls and radio. If anything isn’t working properly, consult your mechanic who will do a thorough inspection.


Eliminate odors – If your vehicle smells musty, take action to rid your car of the offensive odor. Once you have found the source, sprinkle some baking soda on it and leave it overnight. The baking soda acts as an odor neutralizer and moisture absorber.

Please keep in mind that if your car has suffered severe water damage as a result of a hurricane or tropical storm, you’ll want to get professional help in assessing the road-worthiness of your vehicle. The severe flooding that accompanies these storms can do permanent damage to all areas of your vehicle including the engine, electrical system, brakes and air bags.

How to avoid water damage


The best way to avoid water damage to your vehicle is to prevent it from happening. You may not be able to control the weather but there are some simple things you can do minimize your risk.


Avoid driving through deep puddles – If you can’t see the bottom of the puddle or it looks like it’s deeper than 6", don’t proceed. Turn around and find an alternate route. In the blink of an eye, your car can get swept away in as little of a foot of water; you lose control as your wheels lose their grip with the road. You also run the risk of water getting sucked into the exhaust, which can cause your car to stall.


Roll ‘em up – If rain is in the forecast, keep your vehicle shut tight to prevent water from getting inside. Make sure the windows are up and the doors are shut. And don’t forget about your moon roof or sun roof. Repair any cracks in your windshield or windows where moisture could enter your vehicle.


Head for higher ground – If a storm is moving in, keep your vehicle away from low-lying areas that are likely to flood. If possible, park your vehicle on higher ground to protect the undercarriage and components from the harmful effects of water.

Learn more about quality auto parts, find your car part, or find a local car repair shop today.

The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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