Seeing a great number of cars in water recently, some just up to the
sills some to the roof bars.
IN this day of lots of electronics in cars what are the chances of them
working again, or are they all just insurance write off's, anyone any
The actual electronics are generally well sealed, but the real problem
is corrosion of the connectors. That can upset the signals and cause
unpredictable problems for a very long time after the car has been dried
As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that the car be considered
a write off if the water reached the dashboard. At that point, cleaning
up and drying out the interior and ensuring you have stopped all
corrosion (particularly if it was sea water) become uneconomic for most
I'd have thought the biggest problem are absorbent materials such as
underlay, noise insulation, carpets and seats which can never be 100%
dried out. To put right you'd need to strip the interior down to a shell,
and replace all the sodden items - not cheap. Going back to the 1990s,
plain seats were £400 a pop brand new, so that's £1,600 plus vat plus
These days they're a lot more sophisticated. Also you have all the
gubbins like seatbelt pretensioners that I imagine need changing.
No idea if catalytic converters enjoy being submerged either.
And then there's the "little" problem of water entering the engine while
it's running. If anyone is driving through water and it gets into the air
inlet, the engine will quickly demonstrate how incompressible water is
compared with air. My brother-in-law drove into a large puddle across a road
at a fair speed (it was at night and the headlights didn't show the water as
looking any different from the road surface, so he was driving at an
appropriate speed for what looked like a straight road clear of hazards).
Luckily he kept control of the car - it didn't skid out of control - but
water got into the engine and knackered it. Being a diesel, with a greater
compression ratio, the damage was worse. Fortunately his insurance paid for
a new engine.
I'm not sure what exactly failed, but the engine would still turn over (but
not fire), so evidently the connecting rods, crankshaft and
cam-shaft/valvegear were all still intact. It may have knackered the
injector pump: I'm not sure how the pressure of water in a cylinder with the
piston at TDC compares with the pressure under which fuel is normally
injected into the cylinder, and whether back-flow up the injector port to
the pump would have been possible.
I can vouch for how difficult it is to get the inside of a car clean and
dry. A former car flooded to a depth of several inches when the drain holes
from the gutter at the base of the windscreen got blocked and it overflowed
into the car following torrential rain overnight. That required me to remove
the front seats, gear lever housing, carpet (top and underlay), and get the
carpet professionally cleaned (I was able to wash the underlay in the
washing machine). I discovered it just as I was about to set off on a
business trip, so apart from mopping up the excess with every towel in the
house, I couldn't do anything about it for a couple of days, by which time
the water started to pong. I got it all sorted out, and I learned a lot
about how the seats of a VW Golf are fastened to the floor and how to
unscrew the gear lever housing. That was in the days before air bags, so
there were no "bum-on-seat" detectors and also no heated seats, so no
cabling to disconnect.
Apparently, just north of Cardiff a building site is under water, and
the bod on the radio was wondering if the plant equipment would be a
write off. I suspect not. That sort of gear is worth stripping down and
cleaning out any gunge that might have got inside gearboxes or
The estate agent is going to have fun selling those houses though,
unless of course they are being built for a housing association.
Plus of course the issue with flood water on the incomplete
This storm was very well forecast many days ago, and anyone
paying attention to the jet stream and weather over in the USA
would have guessed quite accurately that we were in for a 2013/14
type of weather event even further back.
The Met Office have been giving yellow, amber and latterly
red alerts, so anyone ignoring those warnings and then
damaging their car might find insurance cos being reluctant
to pay out, just like they try to wiggle out of accident
or illness claims to anyone on holiday abroad.
Just hush it up. Easily done these days. No previous owner = no trail.
And frankly, given the standard of anything built this millennium, there
would be a great expense in knocking it down (a few hard shoves) and
rebuilding it to the same standard as before.
Both my daughter's cars were written off because they were at Fishlake.
My cousin who has a specialist garage says that cars should always be
written off after even a flight flood because no matter what you do you
can't get the reliability if you keep them.
In article , Andrew scribeth thus
Indeed! But also there was that bit of vid on the BBC news showing a
street in Wales I think were a Audi was bombing down the road with water
up to and then over its bonnet makes me wonder just how it kept on f
driving maybe the air intake is just that little bit higher?
Course no ones teaches anyone how to drive in a flood anymore do they
just go as fat as you can and hope you'll make it thru!..
Unless its the Welney wash, been though here a few times quite hairy but
this blokes got the right sort of wagon!
I stumbled across a manual intended for the emergency services etc who
might encounter hybrid vehicles. I was surprised that the vehicle in
question (and I expect others) have a drain facility on the drive battery
to permit the draining of (presumably flood) water, along with procedures
to follow. While I?m aware Lithium and water isn?t a good mix, I?d have
thought if the battery was flooded and anything bad was going to happen it
would have happened before anyone had a chance to drain it.
I saw mention online of somebody try to rescue a drowned Tesla.
Apparently, one of the cells exploded when he tried opening the battery
pack in order to dry it out. Whether that would have been the case had
he been able to drain it first is unclear.
What makes you think that lithium is present as a metal?
Any 'explosion' with such a battery is very likely to involve a
component other than the 'lithium'.
There'll be a wiki article somewhere that you can use to become an expert.