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Flooded Car? Don't Panic, Here's How to Overcome It!

News2023-01-19 09:59:00
Source : Photo by Sveta K

Entering the end of the year and the rainy season, many areas in Indonesia have high rain intensity which causes floods, strong winds and landslides. During heavy rains and floods, it is not uncommon for vehicle owners needing to hit the floods to get to their destination.

A car that is driven through a flood can cause all kinds of problems, especially if water gets trapped inside the engine which contains silt. Some of them are damage to the electrical system, contaminated liquid in the car, mold in the interior causing an unpleasant odor, to the appearance of rust on several parts of the car.

It should also be noted that the selling price of a car that has been flooded will also be lower than the market price. Therefore, if forced to break through the flood, you need to do various restorative care treatments.

READ ALSO: Understand The Importance of Regular Maintenance For Vehicles

How to care for a car submerged in a flood

Not all cars submerged in floods are definitely damaged. This is because each car has a safe limit when breaking through or submerged in a flood. However, handling as early as possible when the car breaks through the flood, can prevent a bigger impact. Here's how to deal with a car submerged in a flood that you need to know.

1. Remove the battery cable from the car immediately

The first way to treat a flooded car is to disconnect the battery cable to prevent a short circuit. The car battery functions to supply electrical power to various electrical components in the car. An electric short circuit in the engine can be caused by water getting into the engine so that it runs the risk of breaking down resulting in an explosion of fire on the car.

2. Don't start the car right away

When a car is submerged in a flood, quite many vehicle owners immediately turn on the engine and move the car to a safer location. However, things like this actually risk the car as damages can occur to the engine and electrical components.

If you start your car immediately after it has been submerged in a flood, you run the risk of experiencing a water hammer, a condition in which large amounts of water enter the combustion chamber. So, if you need to move the car to a safer place, it's best to move it by pushing the car or using a towing service.

3. Dry the ignition components

The next way to deal with a flooded car is to dry the ignition components. This can prevent further damage if you drain the ignition system immediately which is easily damaged if it is flooded.

Car ignition components include spark plugs, alternator, air filter, cable delco, carburetor, and coil. To dry it, you can use a hair dryer.

4. Empty the gas tank

When the car is in a flood, you need to empty the fuel tank. Gasoline mixed with flood water can cause various damages because the fuel does not work optimally. A gas tank that has flooded with water can also cause rubber to corrode the interior of the tank. Long-term effects can occur fuel leaks.

5. Deactivate the handbrake

The handbrake is used to stop the car when you need to park the car. However, when in flood conditions, you should deactivate the handbrake so that the canvas brakes don't become sticky. To defend the car, block the car wheels with stones. Then, set the gear to 1st gear on a manual car or P position on an automatic car.

6. Change the oil immediately

Every car is designed to be watertight and protected by a heat-resistant sealant. However, in the case of a car submerged in a flood, the engine oil may mix with the flood water.

If this happens, the lubrication molecules in the oil will be damaged, causing wear and tear or even a broken engine. So, if the car is flooded, you need to change new oil to make driving more comfortable and safe.

7. Clean flooded interiors

Cars submerged in floods must be cleaned, starting from the bottom of the dashboard, carpets, floors, to the absorbent foam. Don't leave the car untreated because it can cause mold which causes bad odors.

In order to optimally clean the interior of a flooded car, you need to remove the car seat and then clean the interior using soap. Make sure all components in the car interior are completely dry before reassembling to prevent moisture from causing unpleasant odors.

8. Take it to the repair shop

After you make sure that the car is dry and can run normally, you should take the car to an authorized repair shop or a subscription repair shop for further inspection. This is needed to know the extent of the impact of the car submerged in the flood.

The technician will thoroughly check the condition of the car's engine and other components. If you find unforeseen damage, you can have the car repaired as soon as possible to prevent more severe damage.

READ ALSO: 7 Tricks on How to Fix A Car That Doesn’t Work Because of Flood

Estimated cost of repairing a car submerged in a flood

You may be wondering how much it costs to repair a flooded car. The estimated cost to be incurred depends on the condition of the damage, whether it is mild, moderate or severe and the type of vehicle.

The following is a cost estimation that you need to prepare to deal with a car submerged in a flood, quoted from the page.


Working Section



(flooded car touches the base carpet)

  • Checking all physical parts and engine valves.

  • Cleaning components that are easily visible to the eye.

  • Vacuum the exterior of the car.

Starting from hundreds of thousands to IDR 5 million.


(flooded car touches the passenger seat)

  • Checking all physical parts and engine valves.

  • Thorough component cleaning.

  • Vacuum the exterior & interior of the car.

  • Vacuum the engine valve parts including ignition components, transmission, gas tank, to the radiator.

  • Feasibility checks on electrical component systems and repairs.

Starting from 5 million to tens of millions of rupiah.


(flooded car touches the platform)

  • Checking all physical parts and engine valves.

  • Thorough component cleaning.

  • Vacuum the exterior & interior of the car.

  • The vacuum of the engine valve includes the ignition component parts, the transmission to the radiator section.

  • Feasibility checks on electrical component systems and repairs

  • Replacement of damaged engine components including the ECU (Engine Control Unit).

Starting from tens of millions of rupiah.

That is the information about how to deal with a car submerged in a flood. Basically, every car has a safe limit for crashing into floods of about 30 cm below the air intake. However, it is dangerous if the car crashes into the flood until the water level is level with the engine. Because the height of the air ducts in cars is different, you should know where your car's air intake is located.

Another important thing is don't panic if your car is submerged in a flood because the steps above are fairly easy to do so you can minimize unwanted risks.

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