Despite daily weather forecasts now available at our fingertips, there’s no predicting the ferocity with which weather can strike sometimes. It could be a symptom of global warming, just nature that’s unfathomable or God’s will, but one of the most common natural calamities are floods. In India, these are caused by cyclones - like Amphan - or the yearly torrential rain - that’s coming soon - which put added pressure on our overburdened (and often lacking) infrastructure. This means that your precious car is at quite a risk of getting damaged due to the rising waters. To mitigate this, here are five must-know tips to take care of a flood-damaged car:
1. Don’t start the car!
Everything in a car runs on electricity and electricity doesn’t go well with water. Besides if water has got into the exhaust or the engine, trying to start it regardless could cause a cascade of mechanical failures and increase your expenses. Best get it towed to a mechanic.
2. Check how high the waterline on your car is:
This waterline is usually easy to see - just check for a long line of dirt running around your car. This will tell you how much of your car was submerged at the peak of flooding. Depending on how high it is, the dirt could have got into your cabin or into more critical areas. If the submersion level is below door-level, you’re probably ok.
3. Dry the cabin out:
If water has got into the cabin, try your getting it out - crank open the windows to let the air in and use towels or newspapers to soak up water. It doesn’t take long for mould to start developing in moist conditions (which is most of India), so consider replacing your carpets, seat covers, etc in case required. Even if you decide against replacing these interior bits, wash them out thoroughly.
4. Check the mechanical systems:
We recommend taking your flood damaged car straight to a mechanic to get it checked out. However, if you’re a DIY sort of person, then poke to look for water contamination. Check the oil dipsticks for water droplets, ensure the air filter is dry and make sure that the brake fluid, power-steering fluid, fuel system, etc., are water-free. The sanctity of these fluids is paramount.
5. Get in touch with your insurance company:
If you have a comprehensive insurance policy – you ideally should – then most damage inflicted by floods will be covered by it. Inform your insurance company hat your car has been flood-damaged and a claim will be coming their way. They'll be able to guide you to the nearest authorised workshop for an inspection, and repairs and replacements, if required. Insurance companies, and workshops authorised by them, tend to be inundated with orders in the aftermath of widespread flooding, so try to get in touch with them as soon as possible.
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