Flood Damaged Car Check

May 19th, 2017 by
Flood Damaged Car Check

If your house has been in the path of Hurricane Matthew chances are you car was as well. This flood damaged car check guide will give you some easy steps you can follow to determine if water has damaged critical elements of your vehicle, or if it’s okay to start it up and drive it.

Flood Damaged Car Check

Flood Damaged Car Check

Step 1 – Check the mud line

Most flood water is dirty, so take a look and see if you can make out a mud line on the side of your car. If your car has a visible mud line below the door of the vehicle and is clean elsewhere. There is a better chance that no water entered your engine. Just because your car passed the first step doesn’t mean it’s time to start the engine yet. If the mud line is above the tires and muffler you need to be extra cautious.

Flood Damaged Car Check

Step 2 – Check the Oil for Water

Your oil dipstick can help you determine if there is water mixing with your oil. Because the oil dipstick goes deep within your engine to verify you have a safe level of oil for your engine, it can also detect if there is water mixed in as well. Look for brown bubbles or dried crusty brown residue above the oil level. Water is lighter than oil and should have settled above the oil. If there is water in your oil you are going to at the minimum need to flush all the oil and water out of your engine before starting it.

Step 3 – Check inside the car

Check inside and see if mud of water leaked into the interior of the car. Even if water did not enter your engine, you can have electrical damage for water reaching critical electronics inside your vehicle. Trying to start a car with electronic damage although not as bad as water in the engine is still dangerous and should be avoided.


If your car has successfully passed all of these tests you are probably okay to drive it. If you have any doubt on any step, call a service center and get a second opinion.

If you have failed any step, it’s probably better to safe than sorry and call a tow truck. The faster you get your vehicle in for service the less chance water has to rust delicate internal components of your engine and corrode your electronics.

At Lafayette Ford we recognize the last thing you want to be worrying about is a damaged car after a flood and so we are always available for a quick call to help you assess if you should risk starting a vehicle or get it in for service immediately.

Posted in Service