We all know that water and flooding can put an end to many electrical components. If they are not destroyed, they will have at least some damage to them. As soon as a car gets flooded, many aspects change completely. Let’s discuss what happens, and things you can do if your car has flood damage.

What Happens When a Car Gets Flooded?

The damage

We all know about that area of Saddle Creed Road that floods every time it rains hard. Flooding can damage your car’s electronics, mechanical systems, and safety features such as airbags. If water gets into your car beyond the dashboard, significant parts in the vehicle will continue to deteriorate in the engine as well as other internal parts.

Should you ever feel like your car could have suffered flood damage, the wisest choice you can make is to take it to a local auto mechanic. Tell them about your suspicions and let them check for potential damages. Certain damages are repairable if there wasn’t much water, unfortunately, in other cases, it can mean the car is totaled.

What it means

Flood damage to your vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work. Oftentimes the car will still run after a few repairs. However, there are times when the car will stop working in the long run if your mechanic is not experienced enough with flooded cars or if your car sat in water for too long.


Never start the car engine when you find your vehicle in a flood situation. As soon as you turn on an engine that is sitting in water, the cylinder block and piston will suffer excessive damage. The amount of water damage your car experiences will determine whether it is repairable or not. If you drove your car through a shallow pond (don’t do this, water can hide deeper than expected conditions!), the damage wouldn’t be too extensive. In this case, the most that could be damaged is the brake linings, which are easy to change.

If your car has been submerged in water past the floorboards and into the electrical zones, your insurance company will most probably declare it a total loss. Don’t get too despondent though, there is a possibility to dry out the car and change the fluids. Nonetheless, your car might still have electrical problems, musty odors, and silt in the seats.

Cars that are fully submerged in water during flooding can be more costly to repair than buying a new car. To avoid going down that rabbit hole, let a mechanic inspect the vehicle and tell you how much damage the car has endured. That is when you can choose whether to repair or buy a new car. With appropriate car insurance coverage, there is a chance you will receive financial compensation. Don’t forget to take all the photos necessary for insurance purposes.

Dry out the car as much as possible

When your car is flooded it is best to get as much moisture out of the car as possible. Drying your car as soon as possible could save you from more damage than necessary. It can be helpful to use a wet/dry vacuum to suck out all the standing water around seats and carpet.

Ventilate your car

If it is a sunny day, open up all your car doors after drying and cleaning the car. A good flow of air will dry out the car and prevent odors and mildew. If the weather is not good, fans can be used to dry out the interior of your car.

Check the Oil

Water mixing in with your car’s oil could result in many engine problems. This is why you never start your engine after it has been water damaged. You or your mechanic can easily change the oil in your vehicle. However, the tank will require emptying to get out all the water.

In the case of your car flooding, it is a wise choice to get as much water out of the car as possible and rush it to your mechanic.

Don’t Drive on Flooded Roads

“Turn around, don’t drown” is the awareness campaign used by the National Weather Service and law enforcement. Even if the bumper of your car is not fully submerged in water there is a possibility for water to be sucked into the engine’s intake. If this happens, the engine can stall or be completely ruined. Therefore, when heavy rains are in the forecast, get where you need to be and avoid driving when necessary. Failure to avoid flooded roads can lead to death in certain instances.

Additional Reading: Flood Safety Tips and Resource (National Weather Service)

Dave & Rays Automotive Repair Shop in Omaha, NE

Our team has learned one thing: automotive problems are as varied and unique as the customers who bring them to us. Fortunately, our decades of experience in auto service and repair also mean that our skilled network of professionals is ready to accommodate an impressive scope of automotive issues. Contact us today.

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