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How to restore flooded vehicles

HRADA offers 10 tips on how to restore flooded vehicles:

  1. Do not start a flooded vehicle until a thorough inspection and cleaning is performed.
  2. Take immediate steps to dry the vehicle as much as possible so as to reduce the length of time vehicle components are exposed to water.
  3. Contact your insurance carrier or agent and promptly report the exposure of your vehicle to water or flood.
  4. Record the highest level of water exposure on a flooded vehicle. This will aid qualified technicians in evaluating and taking the necessary steps to correct any damage.
  5. Contact a certified technician to arrange for an inspection and evaluation of the flooded vehicle.
  6. Have a qualified technician inspect all mechanical components, including the engine, transmission, axles, brake and fuel system for water contamination.
  7. Have a qualified technician flush and replace all fluids, oils and lubricants, and replace all filters and gaskets for components exposed to water. While a vehicle may drive with fluids that have experienced water intrusion, extended internal exposure to water will increase the level of damage to the engine and other vehicle components.
  8. Many repair facilities recommend a thorough cleaning of brake parts and repacking of bearings, particularly for rear-end drive vehicles. In front-wheel drive vehicles, bearings are sealed.
  9. Some of today’s vehicles have padding and insulation that do not easily release moisture. In this situation, it is most effective to replace the materials to prevent the forming of mold or mildew that may contaminate the entire vehicle. With mildew, a repair that may have cost only $100, can easily escalate.
  10. Have a qualified technician inspect all wiring and electrical components exposed to water. While many components are protected from casual water exposure, extended flood exposure may have lingering effects. In some instances, difficulty due to water exposure will not surface earlier than 90 days, when computer and other electrical components begin to corrode.
    While significant exposure to water can have lasting effects on the operability and life-expectancy of a vehicle, early and proper corrective action is the best way an owner can protect his vehicle and limit losses. Prompt intervention can often significantly limit vehicle damage that could result from flood or extended water exposure.
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