How To Check Your Vehicle’s Condition After Disaster

November 14, 2017

The prayers of our entire nation went out to those who were caught in the devastation that two mighty hurricanes wrought in Houston and throughout the East Coast last month.  As we watched we thought two things: “I hope everyone can get out safely”, and “Oh my gosh, what if that was us?”.  There are so many scenarios that we just aren’t prepared for and we don’t know what to do when crisis hits.

We have had flooding in Northeast Ohio, albeit not to the extent we saw after the hurricanes.  Parma and some of the West Side of Cleveland saw enough flooding this summer to seep into some car doors and do some damage. It’s enough to pose the question “what if”?  What it your car was damaged in flood waters.  Would you know what to do?  It’s not something we think about often, so we thought we’d take a look at what you should do if your car is ever damaged in a flood.

Don’t try to start it up right away.

Not only can this be dangerous, but if there is water in the engine, transmission or fuel system, you’ll make it worse.  Always disconnect the battery ground strap when you are at the point of testing or you will also do more damage.

Check for the high-water point.

If it is as high as the dash, your car is probably going to be totaled out.  The mechanical stuff might still go, but the electronics probably will not.

Check the dipstick as an indicator.

If there are water droplets clinging to the end of either the engine or transmission dipstick, you’ll need to change the oil and filters before starting the car.  Change the fluids again within a few hundred miles as well.

Check the fuel tank.

Siphon out some gas to see if there is water mixed in.  It should naturally separate from the fuel.  If you see water, you’ll need to empty the tank.

Work on the interior.

Use a wet/dry vac to collect the standing water.  Use clean cloth towels to soak up excess water on seats and carpet.  Remove the seat cushions if possible and use fans and dehumidifiers to accelerate the drying process time.

We hope that you never have to go through any sort of natural disaster, but if your car does happen to suffer water damage, the pros at Rad Air are here.  Schedule an appointment with us at any of our Northeast Ohio locations and let us take care of all of your vehicle maintenance and repair needs.