There are certain times of the year when excessive rainfall and overflows from nearby bodies of water are unavoidable. These are natural calamities that cause unwanted flooding in your homes and neighborhoods. Your homes and vehicles may be submerged in flood water when flooding occurs unexpectedly. When this happens, you will be facing high costs of repair and restoration. Worse, you may have to replace your furniture, appliances and vehicle.
You can easily prepare your home for any flooding incident. You can strategically move your expensive appliances and furniture to a higher level in the house and put important documents and priceless photographs in water-proof containers. Your cars, however, have nowhere to go but your driveways and garages. This makes vehicles the most vulnerable victims when intense flooding occurs in your community. Unfortunately, vehicles do not deal very well with water exposure. The nature of an automobile makes it susceptible to great damage when submerged in flood waters. This calls for your careful and extensive supervision and maintenance of your vehicle amidst unexpected calamities.
To avoid the total damage of your vehicles, you must employ the following emergency saving tips in the event of a flood:
1. Before you go out of the house during floods, make sure that the waters have subsided and the bad weather has cleared. You have to take precautionary measures before approaching your vehicle. There are dangers of electrocution and other bodily injury in a flooded environment. It will also be futile to do your flood repairs and cleanup when the rains have not yet stopped. You may be facing the same problem and may have to do everything all over again. If you need to assess and fix your car right away, you can move your car into your garage so you can treat it indoors.
2. Once you have assessed that it is now safe for you to deal with your vehicle, move your car to a better location. If possible, you can park your vehicle in an inclined surface. This will allow the water inside your car to accumulate in a single area so that it will be easy to remove it.
3. Remove all the excess standing waters inside your vehicle with the use of a cup, bucket or pail. You have to get rid of all the water so that you can begin your cleanup process. Once you have scooped out all the water that is visible, you can begin absorbing those that have seeped into the fabric and the surfaces of the car. You can use towels and napkins to sop up the moisture off the fabric. Wipe off the waters on the floor boards and dash board. Repeat this process until the affected areas are free of moisture.
4. Open all the doors and windows and allow the excess water inside to drip out. You have to allow the car to air dry for a while before you start the flood cleanup. Giving the car the chance to breathe will also help get rid of the unwanted flood odors that may have settled inside during the flooding incident. It is highly possible that the car will smell of molds and mildew after it has dried. When this happens, you can opt for an upholstery change or for mold removal methods. If you think too much water has been absorbed, you may want to call professional mold removal experts to do the assessment. While this may be costly, it will be more beneficial in the long run. The growth of molds and mildew may spell even greater damage in the future.
5. It will be beneficial to determine the source of the flooding. Once you have dealt with the entry points of the rain water, you will know which areas you should treat first for water damage. This will also guide you as to how to go about your flood damage vehicle cleanup.
6. Remove the carpets and seat covers from your car. These fabric items have absorbed flood waters and may carry hundreds of germs and bacteria. You have to extensively wash them to get rid of the microorganisms that they have absorbed. You can use a special antibacterial washing fluid to make sure that you have thoroughly cleaned them before using them again. Hang the washed carpets and upholstery covers on a clothesline or use the dryers. Once they have dried, you can use a fabric refresher spray to leave it smelling clean and to get rid of the musty flood odors.
7. Gently scrub the interiors of the vehicle, including the floors and the leather on the roof and sides. Mix a solution of light detergent and water and use a soft brush to apply this to the surfaces. Make sure you rinse thoroughly to remove all the soap. To dry the wet areas, you can use a blower or fan to speed up the drying, especially if you are doing the cleanup inside your garage when the rains have not yet stopped. You can also allow the car to air dry if you are not in a hurry. Do not put back the carpets and upholstery covers until the interiors of the car are completely dry.
8. Check the oil and transmission pans of your vehicle. You can use the oil dipstick method to check if there is a need for changing the oil. When you spot any whitish discoloration in the oil that is a sign that it has been contaminated and that you have to change it. When in doubt, drain the oil in order to avoid using any that may have been contaminated by flood waters. After draining, refill the pans with new oil and transmission fluid. If you are driving a vehicle with automatic transmission, you need to inspect your automatic transmission fluid. Use the dipstick method again to determine whether or not such fluid has been contaminated and needs to be changed.
9. It is also very important to inspect and check your car’s brake system. Replace the brake fluid if necessary. The flooding may have affected your brake system and this will turn your car into a driving hazard if you use it without performing the routine checks on your brakes.
10. Check the engine of your vehicle and see if the car is still capable of starting. The engine is usually the one to be subjected to great damage whenever a vehicle gets flooded. If water has seeped into your engine, avoid using your vehicle until you have assessed and fixed the damage. The fuse box must be totally free of moisture to avoid any car breakdowns. You also have to clean and lubricate all your mechanical and electric parts. If necessary, repack your wheel bearings. However, if the damage is too big for you to handle, you may want to consider having the car towed to the nearest engine repair shop so that professional repairmen can take a look at the damage. You have to first inquire regarding the total costs of repairing your vehicle. If the repair will cost more than the present value of the car, then it is no longer considered salvageable.
11. Flood damage restoration companies can do a good job of bringing your car back in shape after it has been severely flooded. If the damage that your car suffers is more than you can handle, it might be wiser to resort to professional services. After a flood, you will usually notice that rust will start becoming visible in certain areas. Musty odors may continue to linger even after thoroughly washing your vehicle several times. As you drive your car, you will observe that the computer box is malfunctioning and that the wheel bearings feel stuck. You will have trouble starting your car as the engine motors will have begun corroding after exposure to flood waters.
12. Avail of the restoration service that meets your specific needs. The package you choose should depend on the extent and the nature of flood damage your car has suffered. Most services include decontamination, sanitation and extensive interior deodorization of the vehicle. Electrical and mechanical repair is also advisable for flood damaged vehicles. The waters usually damage the computer box, the disc players and vehicle sound systems and the automatic door and window controls. You may need to have these items immediately repaired to avoid further damage and inconvenience to your family. The rust on the surfaces of the vehicle can also be treated by these flood restoration companies. This will keep your car looking well-maintained for a long period of time.
13. Flood damage repair of vehicles can cost a fortune. If you are equipped with the necessary car insurance, you should inform your insurance adjuster as soon as you are aware of the flooding incident. It will be better if your car is inspected after the flooding and the assessment of the service companies is made known to your insurance company as soon as possible. Some flood damage restoration companies offer the additional service of contacting your insurance company and communicating with them the repairs needed for you vehicle. This will greatly aid you in your quest for an accurate insurance assessment so that your repair costs will be mitigated if not completely covered.