Updated at: 05-08-2022 - By: Lucas

The owner of a flooded vehicle faces serious challenges. A vehicle’s electrical system, engine, and interior are all at risk. To make the repairs, we’ll need a lot of money. When a car is submerged to the point where just the roof is visible, what should the owner do? What should I do in this situation? Though the automobile will eventually be back on a more or less hard surface because the water won’t hold, what will happen to the inside, electrics, transmissions, and how will the engine start?

Damage to the car caused by flooding

If the exhaust end is submerged or the water level is higher than half the height of the wheels, damage can occur. As a result, many motorists are tempted to turn on their vehicles to verify whether or not the engine is still running.

Unless the water is completely removed from the engine, the automobile will not start. Lifting the car up with a jack will allow you to see if the engine has been flooded. To determine if the engine has been damaged or needs to be replaced entirely, remove the oil pan and look for water leaking instead of oil.

Both outside and inside, you should check to see if the water line has been left by mud or debris. If the water level did not reach above the bottom of the doors, it is quite unlikely that water entered the building.

Does car insurance cover flooding?

Water Damage To Car Electrical System

Unless the dashboard is completely submerged in water, insurance companies will consider the car a total loss if the inside is flooded. If a car is flooded and has not been engaged in an accident, an additional insurance policy is required.

Fire and theft damage are typically covered by insurance policies. Insurance companies have been known to claim that floods were not covered under the policy. Mold will soon grow if water is allowed to enter the vehicle. As a result, you should use extreme caution while purchasing auto insurance.

What to do if the car was flooded?

You can begin drying out by opening all of your doors and windows and removing any water that has accumulated on the floor.

There are a variety of mats, including floor mats, door panels, and upholstery.

Another trick is employed by some drivers.

In order to dry out the vehicles, they take them to a facility known as a “dry room.”

The engine should not be started if water drops appear on the dipstick, the oil level is too high, or the air filter contains water. The vehicle must be towed and sent to a repair shop for all of its fluids to be replaced.

This function is more common in newer cars, although older vehicles are less likely to have it.

Check the coolant tank, brakes, clutch, and power steering, among other things. All electrical components must be checked once the engine begins to run. All electrically operated features such as the following: headlights, indicators, air conditioning, audio system, central locking, windows, and seats. A

Automatic transmissions deserve special attention.

If the gears are difficult to shift, this indicates an electrical problem. In the worst-case scenario, the damage to the vehicle should be covered by the insurance company.

Before attempting to move the automobile, it’s a good idea to check the area underneath it, not just the tires. Wheels, brakes, and other parts must be thoroughly cleaned to remove any residue.

Selling a car for parts is another option. This may be a viable solution to the problem, given that repairing a flooded car would cost you a significant sum of money, as well as time and work.

We’ve outlined a step-by-step procedure for resolving this problem below.

How to fix the damage of a flooded car?

Water Damage To Car Electrical System-3

The first thing a flooded-car owner should learn is to never try to start their vehicle. Attempts like these are doomed to fail at best and aggravate the situation at worst.

This situation necessitates a call for a tow truck so that the damaged car may be brought into a repair shop and repaired in an orderly fashion, step by step. Perhaps the body is the best place to begin.

Inspecting the body

The body must first be examined. Since some components are galvanized, it doesn’t necessarily get flooded all the time. However, if the flooding was severe, the car could float and collide with other vehicles, walls, and other objects. Depending on the severity of the damage, the body will need to be repaired.

If no injury is identified, the entire body must be washed under high pressure. Everything affected by the flood needs to be cleaned up (sand, silt, etc. ).

Also, don’t forget to look in the trunk, sills, spar cups, and any other enclosed spaces. It is important to remember that if something is missing, the end result would be the decay of an entire body part, so do not hurry.

Inspecting the engine

The presence of water in the engine is a far more dangerous issue. Water usually enters the engine through the air filter, but it is also possible that it enters through the dipstick or oil plug.

The oil and pistons will almost probably get wet. Water will undoubtedly find its way into the engine in this situation. The following processes, therefore, must be carried out first:

  • Remove the engine and the cylinder head and dry the piston. Clean camshaft and valves and ensure that everything is all dry
  • Remove the oil pan and pour out the oil with the water in it. Sand often gets in too. Clean it carefully
  • Change oil filter.
  • Remove and clean the throttle.
  • The air filter should be removed, replaced, and cleaned. 
  • Check spark plugs and ignition coils.

All of this will take time and effort, but failing to do so will result in the engine dying.

Transmission, axles and differential

Because water is nearly always found in transmission systems, regardless of whether the vehicle has a manual or automatic transmission, Even if it only gets in a little amount (say, through the metal probe), it will get in. When a metal probe isn’t present, it’s possible for it to escape through the fill plug.

It is best to change the transmission oil in this instance, although washing isn’t necessary because the risk of sand penetration is very low. The differential and the back axle are no different. Every time you see oil, you must replace it.

Remember that the back axle and gearbox (particularly for automatic transmissions) are complex and critical components, therefore changing the oil is essential!

Fuel system

The fuel tank will undoubtedly contain water. The gasoline system as a whole suffers from the same problem. As a result, the gasoline tank needs to be removed and drained completely.

Next, inspect the fuel pump for possible obstruction. We will have to replace the water retention filter. For optimal results, have the pump replaced. If not, simply swap out the filter and call it good.

Adding to this, it is advisable to remove and clean the fuel rail with injectors, as water may also be present in the fuel channel.

Electrical system

This area of the vehicle is frequently flooded. The ECU, fuse box, and battery will all be damaged even though the car’s electronic system is spared.

Radio and dashboard computer will likely survive a power outage with a 50% chance of working, but the fuse box or ECU will most likely need to be replaced, and there are no alternatives.

The battery can be recharged and revived even if it is closed or out of operation (since water simply empties it). As for the batteries that have been maintained, water nearly always seeps into them, necessitating the draining and refilling of the electrolyte.

It’s always a good idea to purchase a fresh battery.

DVRs, alarm systems, and other electronic devices are all at risk if the power goes out.

Car interior

Flooding is a tough test for the interior, and if the seats can still be dry, the upholstery may be severely damaged. If it becomes bloated, a new one must be obtained. Replace the seats if the vehicle has been submerged for an extended period of time.

When the upholstery has been damaged even little, it can be removed and dried. The interior of an automobile requires a lot of work, and that labor frequently goes wrong. A major challenge is getting rid of the odor.

Most of the time, flooding does not affect the cooling or braking systems because of their relative tightness.


A lot of work is required to restore the car, thus applying for repairs under insurance is more affordable if the vehicle is insured with additional insurance.

Many flooded-damaged automobiles are merely cleaned and resold after they have been restored. You should learn as much as you can about a vehicle’s past before making a purchase decision.

Even if the car was in fact submerged during transit, the sellers are unlikely to disclose this information.