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Water damage in vehicles - Sydney Diesel Centre
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car water damage

Water damage in vehicles

Flood Water Damage to vehicles: What you Need to Know

Driving in these extremely wet conditions isn’t only challenging for the driver, but also has an impact on the vehicle.

Water can work its way into the engine system, which will cause big issues. Everything from the electrical system to the engine, brakes, starter motors and catalytic converters can stop working if they’ve been exposed to water. So find out how to tell if your vehicle could be dangerous to drive.

Driving

Aquaplanning or hydroplaning is one of the most common causes of accidents on wet roads. This is when a car skids because a film of water is caught between the tyres and the road, preventing the car from slowing down or coming to a halt. Aquaplaning occurs when a car drives into stagnant water such as puddles at a higher speed than required. When you are driving in these conditions, slow down before you drive through the puddles or avoid them completely. Be mindful this can happen in even the shallowest of puddles. If it rains, just slow down!

Regularly check your brakes — wet brakes typically lose their grip. So before turning the car off, tap the bakes a few times to help dry them out.

Water entering the vehicle

Try to avoid driving through pooled water – yes even if the splashes look like so much fun. Water can get into the air intake and sucked into the engine. This damages the pistons and combustion cycle. This can result in pricey repairs!

Rule #1 – don’t attempt to start your car if you suspect engine or electrical damage from water entering the vehicle. Turning the key/starting the ignition could result in huge further damage of the engine.. When it’s safe to do so, inspect your car. Open the bonnet and check for water or debris and if need be, talk to your trusted mechanic about an inspection of your vehicle.

Water damage can impact the lubrication system and electrical wiring as well as contribute serious damage as lubrication fails and engine parts grind and destroy engine parts.

Check your engine oil level with the dipstick (just make sure you wipe it down first). If there’s water droplets on your dipstick, there’s water in the engine. If you start the car, it will mix the oil and water together. If that is the case, best to contact your mechanic. Read our earlier blog to learn more about fuel contamination and how to avoid it!

The air intake is fairly low on a lot of modern cars, and water can easily creep into the air filter and then into the engine. Be advised that trying to clear water incorrectly can result in major damage, so you may want to leave this to a qualified mechanic.

In summary, water can impact mechanical components – destroying combustion systems or spoiling lubrication in transmissions. It can also damage electrical systems, which are typically positioned under the front seats including airbag computers.

Listen to your engine

When engine parts malfunction from water exposure, you can often hear strange and loud noises typically from the belts, air conditioning or alternator. Sometimes you will see the engine light come on. If that’s the case – call your mechanic.

Keeping your car dry

With this huge amount of rain, water can get into vehicles not only through driving but brittle seals – no matter how old or well-maintained your car is. Compromised window or door seals can let rain into the cabin and boot. Leaky seals could lead to a bigger problems, especially if water gets into upholstery or electrical components.

If you can’t park your car under cover in this current weather, maybe consider investing in a car cover (starting from as little as $22).

Expert advice

If you are unsure about anything, give our friendly service team at Sydney Diesel Centre a call on 1800 683 053. We are here to help and keep your vehicle running smooth and making your trip safer!