Road to Recovery: What to do if your car was flooded

Cars damaged during Florence

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Many people are returning back home after hurricane Florence and could be dealing with damaged cars from flood waters.

Whether someone wants to buy a used car or is wondering what to do next if your car was flooded, experts in both industries share warning signs and tips for the After Florence: Road to Recovery series on flooded cars.

A few days after Hurricane Florence, C&G Auto was inundated with phone calls or people bringing in their cars to check for damage. “They’d be hearing brake noise and that’s because the brake system was exposed to water and each wheel has a senor and if those sensors get wet of course it can get damaged and send a faulty signal or no signal which will turn that ABS light on,” Gary Freeman, Owner of C&G Auto explained.

The worst case scenario, though is engine failure. Freeman said, “That’s when you’re driving through water that’s 12 inches or deeper usually depending on where the intake is located on the particular car. If the water goes into the air intake, and goes into the engine it will do what we call a hydro lock which is a water lock of the engine, the engine is then destroyed and has to be replaced.”

(Source: WMBF News.)

Since most cars today are controlled by electronics. The importance of not driving through flooded water is key. “It’s similar to your cell phone, if your drop your cell phone in the bath tub, you drive your car through standing water, that’s not good,” Freeman said. Also, if a car was parked in sitting flood waters for an extended period of time, don’t wait to take the car in for a checkup.

Freeman advises, “Every time we have a flood, a few months after that we see a lot of those cars go on the market.” So, Buick GMC explains what sort of warning signs the dealer is looking at.

Tom Raschiatore, General Manger at Buick GMC said, “You have to really go over these vehicles to make sure the people that are trading them or have them have not been submerged. We check the insulation, you might have some water spots there, you look at the motor to see if you can tell if there is rust around. Then we walk around to the front, we look at the seat tracks to make sure there’s no rust in them. We also lift up the floor rug to make sure it’s not damp.”

If someone is on the market to purchase a car in the next 6-12 months after Florence, Raschiatore said be aware. “A lot of out of state people come in purchase these cars and sell them out of state, not necessarily traded in South or North Carolina, they could go to other states that these cars may be run at the auction, or craigslist where scammers are out there where people are putting these cars on there. You do have those people who come in and they don’t tell you the vehicle was under water, so you have to be twice as careful,” Raschiatore stated.

Not just for the next few month, but as long as a year from now Raschiatore said. “I would advise everybody go to a reputable dealership that can help you in your purchase of a vehicle if needed.”

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