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Driving in high water could be dangerous and costly

Posted at 9:09 AM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 10:09:11-04

Oftentimes you’ll hear Mac say, “Don’t drive through flooded roads.” That’s because getting caught in floodwaters can be extremely dangerous; and your car repairs could become costly.

Flash floods are very common here in South Texas and should not be taken lightly.

Even if the water isn’t over the car’s bumper, it’s possible for water to be sucked into the engine’s intake and stall or even destroy the engine.

“Some of the cars have air intake down behind the bottom of the front bumper. When you are going through deep water it will act like a vacuum cleaner and suck it up in there, and when it does that, is where you stand a chance of ruining the motor,” said Exxon auto mechanic James Mathis.

Keep in mind, even if you made it through the water, get your car checked out sooner, rather than later, and if you were stalled out by high water, do not try to restart the car.

“If you get water inside an engine, water does not compress,  and when it hits the inside of a motor, the motor is trying to turn over and this is why I say if it dies don’t try to restart it, because if you try to restart it… it bends the connecting rods, motors gone, and the average price $4,000 plus on a newer vehicle,” said Mathis.

Simply put, if you’re on a road and the water looks to be 6 inches or deeper, turn your car around.

“Common sense more than anything else, like I said, just use the fire hydrant as a gauge to the water level. A fire hydrant is about 3 feet tall or a little under it, and if you see it where it is half way up on a fire hydrant, you have no business driving in that street,” said Mathis.

We can’t forget the damage that water can do to the transmission, wheel bearings, and the car’s electrical system.

Driving into floodwater can leave you with a car that is totaled.