Is flood damage fatal?
I got caught in a flash flood on Thursday as I was driving home (a 2011
Subarau Impreza). My car stalled out and wouldn't start. (It wouldn't crank at
all, just made a click). The lights still worked, though. The water was almost up
to my knees outside of the car, and after a minute or two came into the car
enough to soak the floorboards. Once I got out of the car, the cops who
showed up wouldn't let me try to push it to dry ground. So It probably sat in
the water for roughly an 1.5 before the tow truck could get it out. I've filed a
claim with my insurance but it has yet to be examined by an appraiser. What
I'm wondering is whether my car will be totaled? And if not, is it worth trying to
fix? (I know nothing about cars, but have been reading that cars with flood
damage can have a host of problems down the line.)
If the car is paid for, in my opinion, it's best to walk away from it once you get the insurance settlement. Use the money towards a new(er) car without the flood history. Once fixed it can take months for corrosion to take hold and start wreaking havoc with the electronics in a newer vehicle. It may never be right again. HTH. - Jim
There may be a calculated two-fer here: seek the max insurance claim; THEN ask what the "salvage" value is. It may be shockingly low. You can then "buy back" YOUR vehicle for the salvage value and see how it goes as the months and years go by. There's a strong possibility that since you didn't fully "sell" your " TOTALLED vehicle to the insurance company you won't need to chase a new salvage Title (which may have additional bureacratic costs, inspections, and delays), but you WILL lose the sales tax payment due you since you didn't fully "sell" the vehicle to your insurance company. My daughter's Imp suffered colorful and significant hail damage a couple of years ago; following a "totalled" payoff of $8k she was able to buy back for $3k salvage, driving a wonderfully theftproof lunar-scape Imp in Chicago and pocketing the difference. But....
...depending upon how deep the flooding was, there's a good chance that your ECM was submerged; as well Jim's cautions are NOT to be taken lightly. Before attempting to return your car to service just by air and vacuum-drying the interior, I would pull up the right (passenger) front carpet and remove the underlying ECM, air-drying it FULLY before reuse. If your Imp won't run or idle smoothly after eventual attempts to restart with a fully-charged battery I'd remove all four spark plugs wires to dry their boots especially. If' the boots are all wet I might blow out or remove the plugs themselves to clean all water out of these ports. But if the car starts and idles just somewhat roughly you may have only ONE wet cylinder wire; use the scanned CEL to properly locate the PO30x code to dry off.... Assuming your high-mounted main harness connectors weren't submerged I'd probably not worry about tranny function; regardless, they're easy to clean off and reconnect. Let me know how it goes, as there may be a silver lining here...besides the possibility of periodic "tarnish" risks for awhile. Good luck.
Thanks so much for your advice! The shop has told me that my engine is locked. I'm still waiting to hear what my insurance is going to say...
Delete one motor....
Fixing a flooded car can mean a ruined engine and problems with the brakes, wheel bearings. transmission and electrical. Inside you may have mold, rust and mildew. If your insurance pays the car off be very, very glad because keeping the car would be a nightmare.
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