How To Prevent Flood-related Damage To Your Car

Published: 27th April 2011
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Recent weather extremes made driving conditions in Britain more unpredictable. Snow storms brought Britain to a halt during the Christmas period, and rising river banks are flooding ever more frequently.

The Association of British Insurers states that since 2000 the cost to insurers caused by flooding across the UK has risen by 200%. The recent floods across large parts of Yorkshire, the Midlands and the West of England in 2007 cost insurers over 3b and forecasts state the average annual insured losses from river flooding and flash floods in the UK could rise by 14% to 633m by 2060.

For motorists even a small amount of water in the engine can have costly consequences, causing an engine to seize up and render a car completely immobile. Motorists who live in an area liable to flooding or that has had a flood warning issued can take steps to prevent flooding from damaging or destroying their car.

If there has been an extreme weather warning and heavy rainfall is expected, postpone any unnecessary journeys. If you must travel listen to traffic news updates, do not assume that roads will be open. Flooding can sometimes see the water level rise by 15 metres and completely close off parts of the country.

Be aware of the limits of your car, a Land Rover has a higher clearance than a Nissan Micra. No matter the type of car though if water gets in via the exhaust or engine it can cause serious damage, at worst rendering the engine a complete write-off.

If you are going to drive through a submerged road only try to do so if you can actually see the road and never if it is higher than the bottom of your car doors. Drive through any water slowly, ideally staying in first gear with the revs high to prevent water entering the exhaust and damage occurring to the catalytic converter.

Once clear of any water test your brakes, as water damage can significantly reduce their effectiveness and leave you with a costly claim bill. If the brakes are not responding as they should then stop driving and phone a garage, wet roads are dangerous enough without the extra hazard of faulty brakes. As with a chip repair, the sooner you act the better.

If your car has been parked up in a flooded area but has not had flood water breach the passenger compartment then it may be safe to drive. However, for peace of mind it is best that the vehicle be checked by your garage before driving anywhere. If the passenger compartment has been flooded do not attempt to start the car. Flood water could have shorted the electrics and airbags could deploy upon ignition.

Daniel Collins writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

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