If Your Car Gets Stuck in a Flood, What Do You Do?

The hurricanes and tropical storms of late summer may have you wondering: what if something like that happened here? While hurricanes or typhoons are not likely to hit mid-New Mexico, our area is prone to flash floods…and you never know when a water main break could cause flood-like conditions in your neighborhood.

If you get caught in a flood in your car, here’s what we suggest:

Immediate Flood Response

As soon as you know that water makes driving impossible, turn on your hazards to attract attention and provide a warning to neighboring drivers.

In the event that water is surrounding and filling your car, your safety must be your priority…and that means you need to get out. To make escape easier:

  • Stay calm—no escape was ever made easier by screaming
  • Unbuckle your seat belts and unlock your doors
  • Remove extra clothing that could become waterlogged and bog you down
  • Open your windows before opening your doors (this helps to equalize pressure inside the car)
  • Open your door if possible; if not, escape through the window

Swim or wade to safety and call for emergency service.

After-Flood Response

Once the danger of flood passes, salvaging your car may be one of your new priorities.

First, clean out as much mud and debris as possible and dry out the interior (this will likely involve the use of a wet/dry vac, fans and/or blow dryers). Removing excess moisture can help mitigate the costly effects of mold and corrosion.

Next, inspect for potential damage. If the water line reached as high as the dashboard, then likely, your car is totaled. Water that high can displace mechanical components and irreparably damage electrical components. If the water level remained below the dashboard but well-above the floor, then it’s up to the adjuster to make the call about what to do.

If your vehicle has only experienced minimum exposure, then it may be possible to save your car. However, you will need to do more than dry it out before starting it up. Any vehicle that has experienced flooding should be taken (towed) to a reputable shop like Quanz Auto Body. ASE-certified mechanics will thoroughly inspect the vehicle for:

  • Water in the transmission.
  • Debris or water beneath seals in the engine, crankshaft, transmission, axle and CV joints
  • Water in the fuel tank

At minimum, a flooded vehicle will need fluid and filter changes before it’s road-ready.

If your car has suffered any type of flood damage, call the experts at Quanz for more information about how to assess damage or get it to our shop for inspection and repair.