Unfortunately, flood water is going to be around for a long time, and sooner or later you might run
into a situation where you need to drive through some water. But I would not recommend doing that,
because you have no idea if the road under the water is washed away, or if there's a current that
might sweep your car downstream. Plus, bad things like this can happen to your car:
Your engine uses a mixture of fuel and air to run the engine, and the air that is mixed with the fuel
comes in through an air filter housing under the hood. Well guess what's going to go into your engine
if the flood water gets up as high as the ait filter inlet? That's right -- water! Not only will you be
stranded right where you are, there is a good chance that you will do some serious engine damage as
Fluids such as transmission fluid and gear oil can become contaminated if you get into water
that's too deep. Once water has gotten in and mixed with those fluids, they need to be replaced
immediately to avoid some serious damage.
Another nasty flood problem comes when the flood water gets into the interior of your car, (and it
doesn't have to be that deep to get inside of the floorboard of your car). It might seem like you can
just clean the carpets and everything will be OK, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
When water gets inside the car, the first thing that needs to happen is to drain the water out of the
interior. First the seats are removed, and then the carpet is pulled back so you can see the floor. Most
vehicles have plugs located in the floor in different places, so they can be removed to let the water
Flooded carpeting will take forever to dry out once it is wet, and no matter how much you clean them
from the top, there still will be nasty floodwater left underneath. The best option is to take the carpet
completely out. Sometimes the carpet can then be cleaned, but other times it needs to be replaced.
Also, there are electronics under the seats on many vehicles, and those will get ruined when they are
submerged in water. They can be very costly to replace, plus the wiring going to the components will
be soaked in nasty floodwater, which can cause them to corrode as well.
So obviously there are a lot of reasons not to drive into flooded areas, but you should also be aware
that flooded cars might be on the used car market over the next year or so. If you are looking at a
used car, make sure that you have it inspected for flood damage before you buy it.