What to do if your car is flooded: A step-by-step guide


Flood can wreck a whole lot of havoc to your car if overlooked. Here are tips on what to do immediately when your car is flooded, check it carefully!

When a car is submerged in flood, the water can wreak havoc to not just its engine but the electrical systems and interior as a whole. Flooding is common in most parts of the country especially during the heavy raining periods of July and August leaving lots of property worth large amounts of money damaged.

You will need to take certain precautions if your car is amongst those flooded. You should pay even a more special attention to it if its immersion level is as high as halfway its wheel length. It is not that difficult to discern this as you will find a line of mud or debris showing how far up the water got to.

Here are some steps you should take to assess and salvage the damage when your car is flooded, brought to you by Naijacarnews!

1. Do not start your vehicle

For those that are ignorant of this, they may want to start the engine as they would when everything is normal but this is a different scenario. You shouldn’t do that in this case. Turning the on the ignition could cause even greater damage to your car.


You stand a risk of toasting all the electricals if you start your car immediately after a flood experience

2. Evaluate the level of damage

Most times mud or debris would leave watermarks or waterline on the car showing the depth of submersion. If the water reaches the level of the dashboard or higher, your insurance company may consider it damaged beyond repair. In this case, you need to have it towed to a mechanic to get a professional touch, otherwise you continue with the next steps.

>>> What if your car sinks: How to escape from a sinking car

3. Start with drying and cleaning

The car interior and engine will definitely be drenched in water. Open the car doors and windows to let in air and use towels to soak up water from the floor, floor mats, and upholstery and door panels. Bring out the seats and floor mats to dry outside.


Open doors and windows and clean with a vacuum cleaner to prevent odour

4. Check the oil

Most times when a car is flooded, it affects the oil. It will reflect in the air filter that there is water or you may see water droplets on the dipstick. A professional would be in a better position to have the water removed and have the oil changed but if you can go the DIY way, then you go ahead and change the oil and oil filter yourself.

5. Check other fluids

If yours is an old model car, you may need to have your fuel system drained. Check to be sure that the coolants and brake reservoirs are not contaminated.


The oil filter will show you if there is water in the oil then you can change the oil after confirming this

6. Assess other systems

Check all the electrical components starting from the headlights, the air conditioning, the turn signals, the power locks and then the interior lights. Don’t forget the stereo as well.

Clump of dried mud on the wheels could restrict motion. Therefore, you should check for debris that could be lodged around the wheels before you drive off.

>>> If you must drive through floods, check these tips: Things to look for when driving through flooded areas

7. Don’t make a hasty decision

Don’t be in a haste to start repair. After assessment, you might find out that the repair cost outweighs the replacement cost. You might then think of buying another car.

8. Take preventive measure against odour

You might replace some of the interior components; otherwise ensure that they dry well as moulds could form in your car making your ride unpleasant. While using the sponge, sprinkle it with baking powder to mask or help eliminate odour.


You can get a good air freshner to further condition the smell in your car

9. Call your insurance company or review your insurance policy if you have any

You should do this early. The good news is that flood damages are usually covered by comprehensive insurance. So even without collision coverage, you are still covered.

10. Beware of damage & replacements

This is especially for someone that is going for a used car. Proceed with care and request for a vehicle history report before you purchase one.

For those buying used cars, you should be wary of some devious dealerships. Some of these cars that are totalled or termed ‘useless’ due to flooding are simply cleaned up and re-sold.

>>> Come back Naijacarnews for useful Car maintenance tips and Safe driving advice!

Okenwa Emeka


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