Consumer Tips; My Vehicle was Involved in a Houston Flood, What do I do?
[Car Flood Tips and Repairs]
Water can wreak havoc with a car's engine, electrical system, and interior. If your car has been in water more than halfway up its wheels follow these eight steps to assess and address the damage. If your vehicle is operable, but you drove through high water, click here.
1. Do not attempt to start the car. It is tempting to turn the key and see if the car still works, but if there is water in the engine, attempting to start it could damage it beyond repair. There are a couple basic steps any vehicle owner can take, but when in doubt, it is best to have your flood damaged vehicle towed to a certified mechanic.
2. Determine how deep the car was submerged. Mud and debris usually leave a waterline on the car, typically outside the flood vehicle as well as inside. Most insurance companies will consider the car totaled (damaged beyond economically-reasonable repair) if the water reaches the bottom of the dashboard.
3. Call your insurance company and find a repair facility.Flood damage is generally covered by comprehensive (fire and theft) insurance, so even if you do not have collision coverage, you may be covered for repairs or replacement. Your insurance company will probably be overwhelmed with claims, so it is a good idea to start the process early. Having your vehicle taken to an auto repair facility who has experience in floods will tremendously expedite your claim process. The flood repair shop is your advocate and their expertise can help quickly determine if your vehicle is going to either be repairable or declared a total loss. Allowing your get your car back quicker or receiving the funds from insurance for a replacement vehicle.
4. Start drying the interior. If water got inside the car, mold will grow quickly. Start by opening the windows and putting towels on the floor to soak up water, but you should plan on replacing anything that got wet, including carpets, floor mats, door panels, seat padding and upholstery.
5. Check the oil and the air filter. If you see droplets of water on the dipstick or the level of the oil is high, or if the air filter has water in it, do not attempt to start the engine. Have it towed to a mechanic to have the water cleared and fluids changed. (For hardcore do-it-yourselfers, you can try changing the oil then removing the spark plugs and cranking the engine to blow out the water, but we still recommend leaving this to a certified professional who has experience with working on and assessing flood related vehicle damages.)
6. Check all the other fluids. Fuel systems on late-model cars are usually sealed, but older cars may need to have their fuel systems drained. Brake, clutch, power steering and coolant reservoirs should be checked for contamination.
7. Check all of the electrical systems. If the engine looks OK to start, check everything electrical: headlights, turn signals, air conditioning, stereo, power locks, windows and seats, even the interior lights. If you note anything even slightly amiss -- including the way the car runs or the transmission shifts -- this could be a sign of electrical trouble.
8. Check around the wheels and tires. Before attempting to move the car, look for debris lodged around the wheels, brakes and underbody. (Please be sure to set the parking brake before crawling around the wheels!)
Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the certified staff members here at Professional Auto Care if you find yourself a victim of the Houston Flooding. The most important thing about flooded car repair is time. Call anytime (713) 270-0474.
The form is designed to help connect you with a certified professional in regard to your flooded car after hours.
Professional Auto Care
Professional Auto Care is an award-winning family owned and operated auto repair shop located in southwest Houston. It has been run by the same family, the Serratos Family, for nearly 35 years. Professional Auto Care services Domestic, Asian as well as select European vehicles. We are known for our professionalism, transparency and quality of work. Since our humble beginning in 1983, we always strove to provide the best, most reliable service in Houston with a hint of the personal touch. The founders, Everardo and Claudia Serratos, are still involved with the daily operations of the car maintenance and auto repair shop.