What happens if you drive through flood waters

Financial impact of driving through water

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Turn around don’t drown: We’ve heard it before, but the risk are you take with your life and your car is not worth it.

Driving through standing water is not a good idea. The water could flood your car and render it inoperable. You could get trapped and even worse could lose your life.

Driving through flood water can also cause a lot of damage to your car.

“Most passenger cars have no business going through almost no standing water because the air intake valve is usually located behind the bumper, and the bumper is close to the ground,” Ford Asset Coordinator and Lawson State Community College instructor John Harris said.

Harris said the air intake valve could pull water into the engine.

“This is really catastrophic. At the very best scenario you’ll do something called hydro-locking the engine. The waters sucked in and can’t be compressed and the engine stalls out. At the worst, if you go through at high speeds, it’ll suck the water up in there and something’s got to give,” Harris said.

Harris explained rods could break and the engine could go out altogether.

“At the very best you’ll have to have the vehicle towed and someone will have to take out all the spark plugs and dry things out and try to get the engine running again. That’s the best case scenario and that’s a lot of money,” Harris explained.

If the engine goes all together, Harris said  it could cost upwards $6,000 or more to replace and repair parts.

For those who drive electric cars, Harris said you’re still in danger of causing damage.

“Cars nowadays is rolling electronics. It’s full of computers and computer  modules and controls and if we get those wet, yes, it might be possible to dry them out, but there’s usually long term repercussions down the road from the corrosion that’s going to be left behind. These parts were never designed to be wet,” Harris warned.

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