Water can flow, water can crash - be water, words from the legend himself, Bruce Lee. But water can fry your electronics and choke your car - be careful, words from a concerned citizen. We've all seen water-logging in Delhi. Some years back I remember sitting in a friend's Toyota Corolla and hearing water slish-slosh somewhere underneath the body every time he braked or turned. Or the time when our little Maruti Suzuki Alto was submerged in water that could almost reach the music system. But the scenario in Mumbai gets even worse. This year we heard reports of people stranded at their offices and in their cars, and several people were left injured. In situations like these, it is advisable not to drive at all, unless very necessary. However, doing that will protect you, but what about the car. Unless you have a rooftop parking, your car will be parked downstairs at the mercy of monsoon. So, what to do if your car has been submerged in flood waters as deep as a foot or two?
Water can be lethal for the electrical components in your car and not to mention it can make the car's cabin smell like a swamp. Trust me, the smell will not leave your car for a really really.. really long time! If the waterline is as high as the dashboard, you may want to consider buying a new car altogether. Mechanical components and the interior can be dried out, well, with a lot of hard work. But the electronics on modern day cars are quite complex. These systems rely on a lot of low-voltage signals from sensors in the engine management system and ABS.
If your car was in the water for a long time, consider calling a technician at home so as to give it a thorough check. Starting the car right away could end up in fried electricals and a stalled engine.
If a car has been completely or partially submerged, extensive disassembly may be needed for a thorough cleaning. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come cheap. And damage to the engine because of flood water, especially if the engine died while trying to crank it up to drive out of the water logged area, is not covered under insurance.
The first thing to do is to check the dipstick - if there are water droplets at the end of the dipstick, the oil and filter will have to be changed. In fact, even the car has been recovered, check the dipsticks again after the car has done some kilometres.
Driving in such conditions can be even worse since a running engine will be more susceptible to sucking in water from the air intake or the exhaust. Avoid driving as much as possible, but if you really must, here are some tips to drive safely during such conditions: Mumbai rains: Tips for safe driving through flood water, if you really have to
However, even these tips will only apply if water not very deep or fast moving. If you attempt to push your small city car through the water as deep as a couple of feet or if it is flowing rapidly, it could end up in disaster. Well, if you happen to use a military spec Hummer H1 for city runs, you'd perhaps be okay.
Image: NY Daily News