Storms, flooding, flooding and floods – all this has taken place in recent days in many areas of Poland. There is no shortage of flooded cars in the country, and thus serious damage resulting from prolonged contact with water. What can the effects be and what if we know that the car will come into contact with deep water?
he main thing is whether the car was / will be flooded with water when the engine is running or at a standstill. When a rainstorm and a sudden increase in the amount of water in the street or yard appears at night, it is rather a clear matter. Pictures from recent days showing drivers trying to overcome flooded streets only show that they are not aware of the huge costs they are exposed to.
Damage caused by trying to cross the water
Flooding while driving is particularly dangerous as it may cause water to be sucked into the engine , which may result in its destruction (e.g. bending the connecting rod). What’s more, water entering the exhaust system of a modern car can have equally costly effects.
Therefore, I advise against passing through the water with a level covering the wheels. The matter looks slightly different in off-road cars and SUVs, which can often drive safely up to a level of about 50 cm or even higher. This is a very individual matter and everything is related to the place where the engine air intake is located. Sometimes this is the level of the bonnet, which does not mean that you can go to this – when the radiator fan starts, it will cause a powerful splash of water throughout the entire engine compartment.
– The most serious, immediate consequence is the devastation of the unit itself if water is sucked in through the engine – explains Adam Lehnort, expert at ProfiAuto Serwis workshop network. – In most cases, the repair is unprofitable and the solution will be to look for the second, most used engine – he adds.
However, engines are often sold without accessories, and meanwhile …
– Also, cheap repairs will not include: replacement of a turbocharger or exhaust system components, when cold water comes in contact with a red-hot turbine, catalyst or DPF – adds the expert.
That is why it is definitely safer to avoid wading in water, and if this cannot be done – for example, you can not reverse and the water level rises – it is better to turn off the engine and leave the car. A non-working unit in contact with water is not endangered.
However, you should be aware that not only the engine, but also the transmission may be damaged after flooding . Each gearbox has an air vent on top (just like the axial gears), and water will easily pass through it. It will not damage the box immediately, but a long ride with water inside will cause serious damage. This is especially dangerous for automatic gearboxes.
If the water is not high, it does not cover the wheels of the vehicle, you can try to drive through it, but slowly. When the cork is done and you have to stand still, it is better not to turn off the engine.
– If the engine is running and nothing disturbing is happening, it should not be put out, because we may not start it anymore – advises Witold Kania from Michalski Car Service.
The end of the exhaust system may be under water and that doesn’t bother you as long as the exhaust fumes are released. However, after switching off the engine, yes. Water will immediately pour into the exhaust and starting the unit will be difficult or impossible.
Flooding the car at a standstill
When the car has the engine off and is flooded in this condition, the damage does not have to be less. Although it will protect the propulsion unit from destruction, it will still have to be thoroughly dried before the first attempt to start after such an event. However, nothing changes about the gears – you need to change the oil in them, getting rid of water.
– If the car was flooded at a standstill in such a way that water got inside, then the best solution would be to safely transport it by a tow truck to the workshop to determine the consequences – says Witold Kania. – Do not attempt to fire, it will only make matters worse – he adds.
In this case, you should expect problems with electronics. Removing the effects will be cheaper than repairing the power unit, but …
– Not necessarily problems will appear immediately. The wire contacts will become dark after some time, as will the electronic components – explains Adam Lehnort. – Flooded engine controller, fuse box or comfort module will let you know immediately. While we can still match some used parts, assembly and programming can be a puzzle for the average electromechanic – he explains.
The problem is that it is difficult to remove all the effects of flooding the car. Some may come out after a few months. The car will become troublesome, the equipment will start to fail, the contacts and even the body will be corroded if water does not flow out through the drainage channels or mechanical components. No wonder then that flood cars often go on sale. People who are aware know that it is a delayed financial bomb .
– Also, do not forget about the flooded interior. The seats need to be dismantled, the upholstery and upholstery must be removed and dried well. After some time, there will certainly be problems with the electrics, because along the cabin pass cords, windows, rear lights, sensors, etc. – explains Adam Lehnort.
What could the costs be?
If the car has been severely flooded, the costs of restoring it to serviceability are difficult to predict. We will pay a few hundred zlotys for drying the interior, for example at a car wash, where professionals will clean the upholstery and get rid of moisture. Air conditioning service is also necessary if the water floods the ventilation ducts – the fungus will be born there.
If the electrician has not suffered, then drying it will not be expensive, but trouble may appear after a while. When it starts to fail, you will sometimes have to pay more to find the cause than to fix the problem. It is difficult to talk about costs here.
Higher water level is associated with drying of the drive unit and oil change in gears. A few hundred zlotys should be enough, but if the engine was flooded during its operation and breakdown, the bill may exceed several thousand. zł.
How to avoid flooding the car?
It’s definitely not worth going to where the water is deep – it’s obvious. If we anticipate flooding the area where we leave the vehicle, it is good to move it in advance, even if it would stand far away, even out of town. This is a big problem, and maybe costs, but problems resulting from flooding the vehicle can be much greater.
Inhabitants of large cities can be difficult, but personally I would prefer to park somewhere where it is higher, where the water is unlikely to collect, even if it would risk putting a wheel lock and a ticket. Drying the interior itself can be more expensive than this form of punishment, not counting the long-term effects.