Do follow these tips to ensure that your car is not damaged in flood-type situations
While the monsoon makes the surroundings look prettier and greener, it is also a season of concern for many. Due to various infrastructural deficits, heavy rains can usually result in flash floods, especially in cities around large water bodies including rivers and lakes. Most recently, Delhi NCR was victim to exactly such a scenario that endangers many, bringing city traffic to an absolute halt in some areas, and even submerging cars entirely in the most extreme cases.
If possible, avoid travelling during floods and stay put in the dry indoors. But that’s not always an option for everyone and you might even find yourself out on the road when a flash flood strikes. So, we have these seven tips to try and ensure the safety of you and your car in such weather conditions:
Ensure Your Personal Safety First!
Before saving the car, save yourself. If the situation feels too dangerous, kindly step out of the car and reach a dry spot at an elevation. If no such area is within your reach, climb on the bonnet or the roof of the car. If water seeps inside the electronics of a car, there are high chances that the windows won’t operate or the doors will be jammed. Ideally, exit the vehicle before the water rises that high, or let the water recede first before attempting to get out. In each scenario, pay close attention to the condition of your car and keep an eye on the instrument cluster for any warnings and alerts.
If your area is expected to experience a flash flood, you can take some steps to preserve the life of your car even if you cannot secure it in a different location. Disconnecting the battery of your parked car will help in keeping the electricals safe and could prevent any short circuit or damage.
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Park At An Elevated Area
For people living in a low lying area where flooding is a frequent occurrence, try finding an area that is at an elevation to park your car. Even if the parking spot is a bit far from your house, use it, so you can ensure your car is completely safe from waterlogging. This solution is more important for owners of hatchbacks and sedans, since they have a lower ground clearance than SUVs.
Avoid Driving Through The Most Flooded Part
If your route, or part of it, does happen to be waterlogged or flooded when you approach it, the best option is to refrain from driving through the water. Find a path or side which you feel has less water and drive slowly through that. Wait for a taller vehicle or a braver soul to go ahead to give you an idea of exactly how deep the pool of water might be to watch out for submerged obstacles. This reduces the chance of your car getting stuck.
Furthermore, due to the unfavourable road conditions in India, the waterlogged area may be hiding dangers such as large potholes or open manholes which can easily trap your car’s wheel.
Stop If The Water Level Is Higher Than The Tyre
If you see that the water level is deeper than half of the tyre, stop the car. Usually, the exhaust system is positioned parallel to the half height of the tyre. There might be chances of water flowing into the exhaust system, which will damage the car, possibly even beyond repair.
In such cases, assess the situation and then proceed with care. Drive through a higher part of the road or just stop your car for some time until the water level drops a couple of centimetres.
Drive Slow, Rev Hard
If you absolutely must risk wading through a waterlogged area, you need to drive accordingly. At higher RPMs in a lower gear, it is easier to maintain a steady speed and the car is unlikely to stall in water. Also, avoid the temptation to make a splash and simply power through a flooded road, even if you have a capable SUV. Driving fast increases chances of water seeping into the car’s engine bay or electricals, which would again be dangerous.
An important point for those driving car with AMT or torque converter and dual-clutch automatic transmissions. In such scenarios, switch to the manual mode to ensure your car stays in the selected gear. In regular modes, the powertrain is programmed to shift up the gears when being revved, which is not ideal while driving through stagnant water.
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In Case If Car Stalls, DO NOT START IT!
In the worst case scenario where your car has stalled in the middle of a flooded road and the water level is over half the height of the tyre, DO NOT START IT! There are chances that the water has already creeped in the car’s mechanical or electrical parts or might get pulled through the various openings as part of the combustion engine startup sequence that needs to suck in air to function. Just step out and wait for the water levels to drop.
Even if your car is parked and gets submerged up to its bumper, avoid starting it. There are high chances that the water might have entered the engine or air filter. First, get assistance from an authorised service centre to assess your car’s health. If needed, get it towed to your nearest service centre.
Despite these efforts, there might be a possibility that your car has been damaged beyond repair. Worse still, insurance plans do not cover your car during floods, which are identified as a natural calamity. However, many insurance companies offer riders which allow you to protect your car from floods. The premium will definitely be higher, but it’s worth considering if you live in an area where water flooding is frequent.
Did we miss any tips and tricks for driving and protecting your car during flash floods? Share any of your own suggestions in the comments section.