What to Do if Your Car is Damaged Due to Flooding?

Team Ackodrive9, Sep, 2022

In recent years, the instances of flooding have increased dramatically in metros like Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, etc. Not only does flooding bring life to a standstill, but it can also have damaging effects on your four-wheeler. Which is why it is important to prepare for such situations.

After driving on waterlogged or flooded roads, you must know how to minimise car damage. If timely and appropriate action is not taken, you may end up with a completely wrecked car. So, here’s a checklist that can help you save your car from severe damages if it gets exposed to flooding.

What to do if your car is damaged due to flooding?

5 things you must do after your car gets exposed to flooding

Once your car gets exposed to flood water, your initial actions make all the difference. You must take certain immediate steps to avoid critical damages. Otherwise, the water can seep into different parts of your car, and the damages in such a scenario will be irreparable. 

1. Inspect the damage

Conduct a thorough survey of the endured damages without starting your car.

  • Check the interior: Remove the matting to check if the floor carpet is wet. If yes, then immediately wipe and dry it. You can use a wet vacuum and air drier to remove moisture.

  • Check electrical parts: The flood water can enter electrical components and cause damage. While you can’t start the car just yet, check the Engine Control Unit (ECU) and fuse box for moisture. Also, check the wiring and connected components like lights, clutch, steering etc., for any signs of damage.

  • Inspect the brakes: Water can negatively impact the responsiveness of the braking system in your car. To ascertain the impact, you should test your brakes in a safe place by applying slight and consistent pressure on the pedal.

  • Take pictures: Take pictures of the exterior and interior damages; they can come in handy as proof of damage while raising an insurance claim.

2. Dry your car

The faster you remove moisture from your car, the higher the chances of saving it from extensive damage.

  • Dry the brakes: Use towels and air driers to remove as much water as possible from the brakes. Then, let the brakes dry until there are no water droplets left on the discs. 

  • Dry the interior: If flood-water enters your car’s interior, use dry/wet vacuum to remove it. Also, use thick dry towels to dry the cushions and seats.

3. Expose to sunlight and ventilate

Once you clean up your vehicle, expose it to sunlight to avoid bad odours, rust, etc.

  • Open car doors: Leave all car doors open so that the interior components can receive direct sunlight.

  • Open the bonnet and boot: Allow the sunlight to enter and dry the components inside the boot and bonnet. You can also place portable heaters or fans to speed up the process. 

4. Replace fluids and air filters

You need to find out if the flood water has affected different fluids and air filters. If yes, replacement is necessary to avoid further problems.

  • Replace all fluids: Get the existing fluids in the engine, transmission, and brakes drained out and replaced with new ones. 

  • Replace air filters: Swap the water-soaked air filters with new ones to avoid disruption in the combustion process in the car’s engine. 

5. Raise a car insurance claim

If your car is covered for flood-related damages, raise a claim with your insurance provider at the earliest.

  • Contact the insurer: You should inform your car insurer about flood-related damages as soon as possible.

  • Raise a claim: Follow the process stated by the insurer to raise your claim request. 

Can you drive a car after it gets flooded?

You must not start the car’s engine immediately after it gets exposed to severe flooding. The water inside the engine can cause excessive damage to the internal parts, resulting in a totalled car (damaged beyond repair).

The extent of damage usually depends on the amount of water it gets exposed to. For example, if you drive through flooded roads, it may damage the brake linings. However, such damages are easily repairable.

On the other hand, the damages will be much more severe if your car remains parked, totally submerged in water for a long time. Even after removing the water, you will be left with electrical failures, musty odours and other damages. The chances of repairing such extensive flood-related damages will depend on the model and age of your vehicle. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions and their answers about car care after flood-like situations.

Is it possible to fix a car after flood damage?

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The repairability of a car after being flooded depends on the complexity of the damages. Minor exposure to floods might not be an issue, but a vehicle totally submerged in water may get damaged beyond repair.

Which car insurance policy covers floods?

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You can buy a Comprehensive Car Insurance Policy for financial protection against flood-related damages. Please read the applicable policy wordings to understand the extent of coverage.

What are the potential car damages caused by flooding?

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Flooding may cause some of the following problems in your car.

  • Hydrolocking is caused when the water enters the cylinders and pistons in your car.

  • Deterioration of metal surface when exposed to water and air for long periods of time.

  • Electrical failures when water damages the electrical components and wiring of a car.

  • Mechanical failures when water damages the critical parts of a vehicle, such as the clutch, brakes, pistons, etc.

How to avoid flood damage in case of a parked car?

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When parking your car, you must choose high grounds in case your locality is prone to flooding. Make sure you pull up all four windows and disconnect the batteries to minimise the damage.

What if my car stops while crossing through a flooded road?

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If your car stops while crossing through a flooded road, try to start the engine before the water enters the pistons and cylinders. In case the water level seems higher than the car’s exhaust pipe, do not try to start the car. Instead, you should get out of the car and find higher ground for safety.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet, and is subject to changes. Please go through the applicable policy wordings before making any insurance-related decisions.

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