How To Fix A Water Damaged Car? Step-By-Step Process

20 min read

“How do I mend a water-damaged vehicle?” Do you know if your car was recently damaged by flooding in your city? Is it possible that your car was recently damaged by water that was not caused by flooding?

However, you need to know what steps to take with your car after that. Consider the cost of flooded auto repair if you intend to keep your water-damaged vehicle.. Whether or whether your insurance will pay the expense of repairing a flooded car is answered here.

What Is A Water-Damaged Car?

A few minutes later, we’ll talk about flood-damaged vehicles and if they’re worth the repair and insurance costs. Prior to getting started, it’s important that you have a firm grasp of the concept of flooded vehicles.

As the term implies, flooded cars are vehicles that have been submerged in water. As we’ll see in a moment, flooding can come in a variety of forms. Any vehicle that has been submerged in water is considered a flooded car.

How To Fix A Water Damaged Car: Easy 5-Step Repair Guide - Krostrade

If the water level is just high enough, the car may be able to get inside. The vehicle may have been submerged to its fullest extent in some instances. Repairing a flooded car is prohibitively expensive.

It is possible for cars to be stuck for days or even weeks if a storm surge or river flooding occurs. Your car’s interior, electronics and powertrain may be damaged as a result.

Even if the seawater flooding is modest, it is the most damaging to automobiles. When salt water is used to flood an automobile, some experts claim that it cannot be repaired. Repairing saltwater or long-term flooded cars should be avoided at all costs unless you are prepared to completely rebuild them.

Economical water-damaged car repair

The extent of the damage, the type of water, the depth, and the length of time the area was submerged all have an impact on your restoration options. It’s possible to salvage a flooded car since freshwater is less acidic than salt water.

Can a car still work after being flooded?

When you find your automobile in a flood, the first thing you should not do is turn on the engine. When you start an engine with water, the cylinder block and piston will be severely damaged, resulting in a destroyed vehicle.

Depending on how much water damage your car has sustained, it may or may not still be repairable. The brake linings are the most likely to be destroyed if you drive your car across a pond on your way to work, but even those may be replaced.

In contrast, if you’ve submerged your automobile past the floorboards into the electrical regions, your insurance provider is likely to deem it a total loss. Don’t misunderstand, the automobile can still be dried up and the fluids changed. In spite of this, you’ll still have electrical issues and a musty smell to contend with in your car’s interior. Depending on the model and age of your vehicle, you may be able to fix any of this or not. This kind of impact is too much for older vehicles.

The cost of repairing a flood-damaged car can be greater than the cost of a new vehicle. To avoid falling into this rabbit hole, allow the mechanic to inspect the vehicle and inform you the extent of the damage. Decide whether to repair the vehicle or give up and get a new one at this point. You may, however, be compensated if your insurance policy is in place.

7 Things To Do If Your Car Has Flood Damage

You would be terrified and unsure of what to do if you found your car submerged in a pool of water. In order to save your car before the damage is too bad, here are some tips.

Survey the damage

Take a look at the damage your car may have sustained if it was inundated in a flood. Take pictures for your insurance as you do your checks, just in case.

Please don’t start your automobile while it’s like this. Without knowing if the engine has water in it or not, starting it could be dangerous. Starting an engine with water can cause a hydrolock, where the piston fails to compress as expected. With hydrolocks, you could be looking at a significant repair bill or the need to purchase a completely new vehicle.

Dry your car as much as you can

When your automobile is flooded, the first thing you should do is to remove as much water as possible from the vehicle. Mold will grow if you don’t dry out your car, and it will always smell musty. Tow your vehicle to higher ground and allow it to dry if it is still submerged.

Quick drying of your vehicle may prevent more damage than necessary. To remove all of the water, you’ll need a vacuum cleaner, either a wet or a dry one. An electric shock could be caused by using a standard vacuum cleaner. Make an effort to squeeze out all of the water.

Using a dry towel, you can clean your seats and cushions.

File a claim

If your car is totaled, your insurance provider will cover the cost of repairs or reimburse you for the vehicle’s market value if you have comprehensive coverage. Flood damage isn’t covered by most other insurance policies, so you’ll need a separate policy for that.

A comprehensive insurance coverage allows you to call your agent and tell them about the condition of your vehicle so that you can decide what to do next. Remember that your comprehensive policy covers most repairs from floor mats to the engine at the repair shop.

Theft, fire, and flooding are all likely to be covered under your policy. Be certain of what is and is not covered by your insurance policy by reading it from cover to cover.

Ventilate your car

You’ll be in luck if it’s a sunny day. After you’ve dried and cleaned your automobile, make sure all of the doors are open. Your car’s scents will be eliminated, the car will be dried out, and mold and mildew will be prevented if there is a good flow of air. When the weather isn’t ideal, you can utilize fans to help keep the interior of your car dry.

Remove the seats from your vehicle if they can be dried outside in the sun. Carpets, mats, upholstery, and door panels, to name a few, may need to be replaced in your vehicle. If your car has mold or a bad odor, its value will suffer and it will be more difficult to sell it in the future.

Check the oil

Water in your car’s oil can cause a wide range of engine issues. The presence of water droplets on the dipstick indicates that you may have a problem. Never start up your car after it has been submerged in water. It’s up to you whether you want to perform the oil change on your own or have it done by a mechanic. To remove all of the water, the tank will have to be drained.

Repairing Water Damage to a Car's Interior? | ThriftyFun

Test the car’s electrical components

Both water and technological equipment can be deadly foes. When it comes to your car, you need to be aware of any water damage that may have occurred. Before you even consider turning on your vehicle, make sure the wiring in your automobile is in good working order. If the wiring is sound, the rest of the car’s electronics can be checked to ensure they are in working order.

You can examine the car’s headlights, turn signals, power locks, tail lights, and power windows, among other things. Check the brakes, power steering and coolant reservoirs for damage as well.

Carefully weigh your options.

Take a look at how much it would cost for you to buy a new automobile if you were to fix your vehicle. It’s time to start looking for a new vehicle if the cost of repair is going to be too much for your budget. Make sure you have the car’s history, repairs, ownership, and title branding, among other things, when you’re trying to acquire a used car. Keep an eye on the vehicle’s condition by having it checked out by a trusted mechanic. Before you spend a penny, do this.

Repairing Your Water Damaged Car

Step 1: Do not try to start an engine that has been submerged. If a hydro-locked engine even attempts to start, it will quickly self-destruct.

Because oil floats on water, it became ineffective as a lubricant if the oil level in the crankcase was too high. Remove the spark plugs and turn the engine over by hand to get the water out of the cylinders.

Spark plug holes are blown with compressed air, and air intake is also advantageous. It is important to drain and replace the oil filter.

Check the transmission fluid, transfer case, and differential fluid levels, since they may have been flooded as well. In the presence of water, automatic transmission discs and bands dislodge.

Manual gearbox synchronizers can be destroyed by a lack of lubrication, and a wet clutch can corrode the flywheel. Draining and refilling all fluids can help alleviate transmission problems, and the clutch may be released after the engine reaches working temperature.

Step #3: Pay special attention to safety systems, such as tainted brake fluid or contaminated power steering fluid. As an example, water-logged brake fluid can evaporate, resulting in a decrease in braking performance.

Brake and power steering systems should be flushed. The rotors and drums of a car might rust if the brake pads and shoes are not replaced, however moving the vehicle may loosen them up.

In order to adequately dry the car, remove the seats, carpets, and insulation from the vehicle. When the weather is nice, park the automobile in a sunny spot and leave the doors and windows open.

Ensure that everything, including the trunk, is exposed to direct sunlight. Use a hair dryer or heat gun to dry off any electrical contacts.

You may need to drain the gasoline tank if the flooding is severe enough to cause contamination.

Can you save a flooded car?

If the car was submerged in a particular type of water, then the answer will be yes or no. It’s possible that your car was inundated with salty water if you live near the ocean. If that’s the case, there’s no point in attempting to save it. It’s a done deal. Damage to automobiles caused by saltwater is irreparable.

Your vehicle can be fixed by a skilled mechanic if the damage is caused by clean, freshwater. If you don’t trust a mechanic who has never worked on a car that has been submerged, you’ll be better off. It’s pointless to have a mechanic work on your automobile unless they’ve worked on flooded vehicles before; they’ll only make things worse and you’ll wind up losing both money and the vehicle.

A flooded car could cost you a lot of money if it has electrical problems. To ensure that your vehicle is in perfect working order, these issues must be addressed. You’d have to replace your fuse box, controls, and modules if water got inside. After a major hurricane, the cost of these things skyrockets. There will be issues down the road if you don’t get them replaced. They may work for a while, but eventually they will fail.

Additionally, you’ll need to repair the battery cable and the wiring harness.

The problem with a flooded car isn’t the water itself, but what comes with it. You have to work hard to remove mud and silt from your vehicle, and this always causes major problems. Mold and mildew can thrive in areas where mud or silt has accumulated, making it difficult to mitigate the damage.

Will your auto insurance cover the water-damaged car repair cost?

Additionally, after your car has been flooded, you should speak with an attorney to see if flood damage is covered by your auto insurance policy.

Depending on the sort of car insurance policy you have, your insurer may or may not cover the water damage. As soon as you call to file a claim, they’ll be able to tell if you’re covered.

Your insurance company will be able to tell you whether or not they will cover the cost of repairs after assessing your vehicle. Car insurance companies frequently declare flooded vehicles totaled right away.

How much does it cost to fix a flooded engine?

After an automobile has been submerged in water, the interior and upholstery can be easily and inexpensively repaired. However, the problem becomes overly difficult when it comes to the engine. Because you can do most of the job yourself, such as drying the interiors, it will cost you little more than $20 to fix other interiors that don’t require the machine. However, if your vehicle is hydro-locked, the problem becomes more expensive.

Anywhere from $3000 to $8000 may be needed to fix your flooded engine. It’s going to take a long time to fix that engine, and you’ll be without your vehicle for a while.

Because no two mechanics would charge the same amount to repair a flooded engine, it is impossible to give an exact estimate of the cost. You should have your automobile’s engine inspected before deciding whether or not to repair it, replace it, or just buy a new car.

10 Ways to Protect your Car from Water or Flood Damage

Prevention from water damage while on the road

Avoid passing through standing water

This is a blunder that most of us have made at some point in our lives. The problem is that no one can predict how deep the water will be until it’s too late. If your vehicle breaks down in the middle of a road trip, you may be stranded without a way out. Also, if you leave your automobile in the water for an extended period of time, water can leak into the cabin and do extensive damage.

One should therefore avoid crossing standing water if possible and instead choose a different route.

Keep your car in 1st gear and keep the revs high

Always keep your car in 1st gear if you are unable to find an alternate route and are forced to go through a little pond that is being constructed on the road. Keeping the engine revved and in first gear has two advantages. At low speeds, you can keep a firm grasp on the car’s trajectory thanks to this device. When driving at higher RPMs, it helps prevent water from entering the exhaust.

Drive through the higher part of the road

Before you decide to plunge into the water, get out of the automobile if at all feasible and check the road conditions. To get a better view, look for the highest point of the road and drive from there. This merely minimizes the risk of your vehicle becoming entangled in the mud.

If your car stops in the middle of the water

This isn’t so much a “how to protect your car” guide as it is a “how to protect yourself” guide. If your car becomes submerged in floodwaters, it’s best to ditch it and move out of the way. In the end, your life is worth more than any vehicle you may own.

Starting your car back

In the event that your automobile stalls when you’re driving across a body of water, either restart it as quickly as possible or don’t do it at all. You need to do it quickly so that you can start the engine before water seeps in and causes damage. You may end up with the worst conceivable outcome, “Hydrolock,” if you wait too long and the water level is over the exhaust pipe.

Hydrolock occurs when water gets into the cylinder block and damages the spark plugs, valves, etc. This can make it impossible for the automobile to burn fuel.

Preventing your car from flood damage while it is parked

Park your car on higher grounds

This is the best example of why prevention is better than cure. If you have the option of parking at an elevated area, don’t second guess yourself. If you own a sedan or a hatchback, this is especially important because they are lower.

When driving in a downpour or flood, it’s best to keep your car on higher ground to prevent water from getting inside and harming the vehicle’s electronics and mechanical components.

Pull up the windows

Be sure to fully secure all four windows of your vehicle. If there is even the tiniest breach, water could get into the cabin, which is the deadliest thing that can happen to your car.

Disconnect the batteries

It’s a good idea to unhook your car’s batteries before a flood or heavy waterlogging occurs. This will protect your car’s electrical systems in the event that it is submerged.

How to protect your car after it’s been in a flood

Do not restart the car

Don’t start your automobile straight away once you get it out of the garage. Ensure that all mechanical parts of the car have thoroughly dried out before proceeding.

Get the brakes dried up

Your car’s tyres and brakes were exposed the most while submerged in water. In order for your car’s brakes to function effectively, they must be entirely dry. As a result, you must ensure that the brake discs are completely dry.

Car Flood Damage Repair: Is it Possible?

Drying up the interiors

If the water does get into the cabin, be sure to dry it out completely once you’ve gotten it all out. Get out of your car and place it in direct sunlight with all four doors open and the trunk lid and bonnet up. Let the sunlight do its work. Portable fans and heaters can also be used to dry upholstery.

Remove water from the interior of your automobile using a wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

Replacing all the fluids of the car

There’s a good chance the water ended up in your car’s fluids as well. As in the oil, brake oil, transmission fluid, etc. This is why draining the old fluids and replacing them with fresh ones is recommended prior to starting the vehicle.

Replacing the Air Filter

Your car’s air filter, on the other hand, would have become saturated with water. When this occurs, it strongly suggests that you avoid driving at all costs. If this fails, moisture will enter the combustion chamber, causing havoc throughout the process. As a result, a new filter must be installed in place of the old one.

Get your car serviced at GoMechanic

Additionally, one should get their car serviced to the fullest extent possible. GoMechanic is an excellent choice, too! You can count on us for a thorough assessment of your vehicle for rust and water damage. After-flood auto body repair and salvage is a specialty of GoMechanic.


Flood damage repair is a risky industry in general. The sooner you can get your car dried off, the better your chances of saving it from total destruction. When dealing with a water-damaged vehicle, it’s best to seek the help of a specialist who has experience in this area.



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