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A guide to saving your wheels from a watery grave

Updated on: Nov 19, 2015




If the monsoons and the subsequent flooding have overwhelmed your neighbourhood and your car, here are some important pointers and tips to keep both man and machine safe

It’s been a trying few days and the heavens don’t seem to have any plans of letting up any time soon. It is crucial that we take care of ourselves and, of course, the things we care about – our cars.

Moisture is a big destroyer of anything metallic and if you are living near the coast, the salt-laden breeze can be even more damaging.

It can be worse when the rains cause flooding and water-logging and god forbid your car is stuck in knee-deep flood waters.

Here is a quick run through of things you could avoid doing to keep yourself and your precious automobile safe in these trying conditions.

Be prepared It would be ideal if you have an emergency bag with some food, water, a glass breaker and a flash light, but hey you can still make it even if you don’t have these things. You just have to be smart about it.

Avoid driving Help decongest roads, and keep your car safe – leave it parked.

Apart from running the risk of getting stuck in deep water, you can never tell how deep a pothole is or where the edge of the road is in waterlogged situations.

The best way to deal with this is to stay home.

Beware of aquaplaning

Thin films of water may look harmless on the road, but that much moisture is sufficient to lift your tyres off the road if you happen to be moving at high speed.

Aquaplaning can be very dangerous as it could lead to momentary loss of control over the car’s steering. This could result in the car spinning in an unintended direction or even off the road.

Water till the exhaust pipe Most commonly, as we sit around and wait for traffic to clear, water fills up and gets to the exhaust pipe level. This should be very apparent as you hear a burbling sound.

In such a situation, make sure you keep engine revs higher than normal and do not stall the engine till you are on higher ground. This ensures that water does not enter the engine.

Once you are on drier ground, move along slowly and use your left foot to tap the brake pedal repeatedly in order to squeeze water out and get the brakes to function properly again.

Water till the bonnet level This is a good time to turn off the car as the air-intake is just below the bonnet and will suck in water and damage your engine extensively.

Try and open the door to get out, or if you have waited for too long and can’t open the doors anymore, get out through the window.

In case the electricals have failed, move to the back seat – lie down on the seat and kick out a window to get out. If the electricals are working, make sure you shut the windows to give the interiors a chance to stay dry. If possible, open the bonnet and disconnect the battery before you leave to keep the ECU from getting shot out.

It is an unfortunate situation and as difficult as it may be, you have to put your safety first and walk out, instead of persisting and believing that you will make it through.

Follow the steps above in order to limit water damage as much as possible – to the mechanical and electrical parts at least.

The interiors are likely to take a beating, but then it’s easier to change seat covers and carpets than an engine block.

Always remember to stay safe and choose to cut your losses instead of persevering in a difficult situation and harming yourself in the process too.

Published on January 22, 2018

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