In the past month, Storm Babet and Storm Ciaran have caused havoc on UK roads. This has led to National Scrap Car reporting that they have an increase in people scrapping their car due to water damage.
According to Reach and Rescue around five million people live in flood-risk areas in the UK. This could potentially get worse with ongoing climate change, so more people might have to get used to driving on flood-prone roads.
In light of this, Dorry Potter, car expert at National Scrap Car, has come up with five tips on how to protect your car from water damage.
The potential cost of water damage
A vehicle is an expensive piece of machinery to repair if damaged; some parts cost more than others. If your vehicle is the result of extreme water damage then the likelihood of repairing or selling is relatively slim, meaning most vehicles will eventually be scrapped. Here are the areas of your car that are particularly vulnerable to the elements for you to look out for…
Without a fully functioning engine, you have no vehicle. Having a water-damaged engine can be very costly, with minor damage setting you back up to £1000, and major damage significantly more. Engines often get flooded when the flood water is that high it goes above your headlights.
To ensure your vehicle is safe for yourself and other road users, fully working brakes are crucial. Water getting into the brake fluid can reduce efficiency by corroding pipes in the braking system, this can ultimately increase your vehicle’s stopping time.
A big problem to think about if your car gets flooded is your vehicle electrics. Water can corrode the pins within electrical connections, which causes them to lose their conductivity. Signs of water damage to your vehicle’s electrics are your infotainment system failing or not working like it usually does.
Inside your vehicle
Getting water inside your vehicle can cause a number of problems, most of all it can make your car feel damp. Wet seats can be hard to dry especially if they have been soaked, and mould can easily appear when the vehicle gets cold at night. This could cause a health hazard making your car unusable and dangerous to your health.
5 tips for navigating the winter storms
1. Assess the conditions
If you’re in a position where you’re debating driving through deep water it’s important to assess the conditions. Going in without checking could lead to the water being deeper than you expected. You could easily lose control of your vehicle and have to abandon it, causing severe damage.
Make sure the water doesn’t exceed over a quarter of your tire size; if it does then you shouldn’t attempt to drive through. If the water is deep enough to make your car float, then this could even be a danger to life risk as it might hinder your escape and sweep you away from the road.
2. Stay in first gear
When approaching a flooded part of the road, put your vehicle into first gear and move very slowly forward. You shouldn’t go faster than 1-2mph as going into the water too quickly could cause the car to aquaplane. This will result in the driver losing control of the vehicle due to the wheel losing traction. It also allows you to drive at high revs, which ultimately means that less water will enter your exhaust. If a substantial amount of water was to enter your exhaust, it could cripple your vehicle.
3. Store your car on high ground
There’s every chance that if a flood were to occur, it might happen near your home, resulting in your vehicle flooding when you are not inside. If severe weather is forecasted, then try and park your vehicle on high ground. If there are any parking spaces up hilly areas or in places you know don’t or rarely flood then try and keep your car there to ensure it’s safe from potential damage.
If high ground is not possible, then park your car in an enclosed space. A garage would be ideal as it would stop external debris from damaging your vehicle. You can also defend your garage from flooding using sandbags.
4. Avoid low-lying routes
When it comes to flooding, it will often be the low-lying areas that flood first. So, if you really need to make a trip, try and plan to drive on roads that are higher up. Especially if you are driving locally, you probably have a good knowledge of what roads are prone to flooding. Avoiding these will protect your vehicle from any potential water damage.
5. Remove any car documents and valuables
If the worst does happen and your car floods, then make sure documents are removed from your car as this will save you a lot of stress. If your car insurance does cover water damage, you will at least have the peace of mind that no documents have been destroyed and your car will be repaired. At the same time, valuables can make a water-damaged vehicle even more costly. Not leaving valuables in your car overnight or remembering to take them out if your car does flood is a key tip.