Back in July 2014, a massive broken water main flooded UCLA with 20 million gallons of water. The water flooded campus buildings, sports facilities, and parking garages. It was estimated 900 vehicles were trapped in the underground parking garages. It was reported half of the vehicles were submerged in the waters and therefore sustained damage. UCLA towing and vehicle recovery in the parking garage started within a day after the incident. More than 300 vehicles and cars were towed out from the flooded parking garage, and most of them damaged by the waters.
In the following, we will discuss possible damages to vehicles during flooding, what to do if you encounter such a situation, and how to avoid it.
Water is Damaging to Your Vehicle
Towing after a flood is a must when your car is in the waters. Cars submerged in water are susceptible to damages to the engine, electrical system, and interiors.
Water is highly damaging to the engine of a vehicle. When water enters the fluid tanks, fuel lines, and floods engine parts, the damage caused will be catastrophic. This is due to modern vehicles built with sensitive electrical systems. Even when the water is dried out in the engine, the electrical sensors can be corroded, and this leads to malfunctions.
What Should You Do
The first thing to do is to file a claim with the insurance company. Most comprehensive insurance policies will cover flood damage. The insurance company may assign a mechanic to find out the extent of the damage caused by the flood to the vehicle or car.
Step one in assessing the damage from a flood is to determine the waterline. Mud and debris left from the flood will leave a waterline on the vehicle. If the vehicle has had waters up to the dashboard, it will be unlikely to be repaired. Saltwater is highly damaging to the vehicle, as the chance of eroding the electrical sensors are much higher. Call for towing service to get it out from the water as quickly as you can when possible.
Do not start the engine. Starting the car while there is water in it will destroy it. Also, repairing will be impossible.
Examine the dipstick. See if there is are water droplets. Do not start the car when you see a high oil level or water in the air filter.
Check all electrical systems and components. You can try to start the vehicle, when possible, with the electrical devices in the car. You can try out the windows, power locks, headlights, turn signals, interior lights, air-con, etc. When something is not working as normal, then there is an issue with the electrical system. However, if you are not sure how to do it, you can leave it to a mechanic to examine the car for you.
Do not wait and let the vehicle submerge in waters too long. Towing should be done as quickly as possible. This is due to rust and corrosion set in if towing is delayed.
What Can be Done to Avoid Towing in Flooded Waters
Keep a tab to the weather forecast or news if flood warnings were given. Some people may think they can carry on with daily activities in flood warnings. However, flooding can be very sudden, and no one should risk getting trapped in the flood. Not only will it damage your car, but it could also even be fatal. Drivers should not drive through water unless it is unavoidable. During a flood, the water level is unknown; you may not know the depth of it.