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How to Tell If Your Car Has Been Damaged by Flooding

As a result of the current increase in storms and flooding, more and more drivers are left with a car that’s been damaged by flood water. A car that is immersed in water can sustain serious damage to the engine, electrical system, and the interior. If the car is not brought to a car repair shop, water can get inside the cylinders. This will put the cylinder in hydro-lock, as water cannot compress like air, which can cause everything connected to the cylinder to warp or break. While not all cars are permanently damaged after a flood, it can be difficult to tell if the car is totaled. Here are a few signs to look for when checking your car for flood damage.

Interior
Check all of the car’s interior carpets, upholstery, and any other fabric panels that may have absorbed water. If the interior of your car is wet, it’s likely a sign that you will need to get them checked by a professional. If you let the interior dry on its own, it’s likely to grow mildew, which will let off a foul odor. In addition, check the seat brackets, motors, and modules to make sure they have not rusted.

Oil and Transmission
Engine and transmission problems are some of the most expensive parts to repair in the United States, and flood water can be devastating to these systems. After a flood, it’s advised that you check the oil and transmission fluids. If the fluids appear milky or diluted, it’s likely that water has gotten into them. If this is the case, do not start the engine, and have the car towed by a professional to a car repair shop. If the oil seems to be normal, it’s likely safe to drive. However, remember that a car’s oil and oil filter should be replaced between 3,000 and 7,000 miles.

Air Filter
It’s possible for the air filter to get water on it, which can cause damage to the car’s delicate systems. Check the filter after the flooding is over to look for small drops of water. If there is water on the filter, it’s advised that you replace it before starting the car back up again.

Even if you do not see any of these signs, a car that has been through a flood should be examined by at one of the local car repair shops. In a survey by the Car Care Council, 89% of vehicles are in need of at least one service or repair. Auto repair shops can give you a better idea about the damage your car has been through, and will suggest the best car repair estimates to ensure you’re safe while on the road.

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