How to Handle Your Flooded Car in the Gulf Coast Area

Palmer’s Toyota Superstore wants to let our Gulf Coast neighbors know that we are here to help. If you have been affected by flooding in the Gulf Coast area as a result of the recent storm, we know you have a lot on your mind. As you assess the condition of your personal property, it is important to evaluate your vehicle and take any necessary steps if you discover flood damage to your car. The team at your local Toyota dealership is here to assist you as you address your vehicle’s needs. Using the following steps, you will know what to do if your car has been affected by flooding during the recent storm in Alabama. 

Checking Your Oil Indicator

When checking your car’s oil level on your indicator, if you notice this is very high (particularly higher than usual), there is a high likelihood that your vehicle has been flood-damaged. If you encounter this, it is important to remember not to start your vehicle. 

Measure the Extent of Water Submerged

While your vehicle may have flooded, the degree to which it happened is important to know. If water never rose above the bottom of your car doors, there is a high likelihood that your vehicle did not experience significant damage. Another factor to consider the length of time your car was submerged in  water. The shorter the time period, the better for your car and its parts. If water has risen to the dashboard or higher at any point, it is likely that the vehicle will qualify as totaled by your insurer. 

Begin Drying the Interior of Your Vehicle

It is recommended that you begin the drying process immediately to avoid molding and smells, though you will eventually need to replace items inside your vehicle, such as floor mats and upholstery. Dry with as many towels as you are able to find and open as many windows as possible. This is simply a temporary, precautionary measure.

Check for Leaking Fluids

Ensure that your vehicle has no fluids such as oil, air cleaner, brake, clutch, etc, are leaking. Should you notice any leaking, contact a tow truck as quickly as possible. 

Check for Surrounding Debris and Obstacles

Beyond water damage, far-flung objects and debris can also cause damage to your car. Be sure that nothing has caused additional damage and, if you try to move your vehicle, there is nothing beneath it to serve as an obstruction. 

Check Your Electrical Systems

Be aware that, should you start your car, water damage can have an extreme negative impact on your car’s electrical systems. If your car is turned on, check every aspect of your electrical systems, including your headlights, power locks, and stereo, to ensure that everything functions correctly. Use caution and bring your car in to be serviced if anything appears even slightly amiss. 

Call Your Insurance Company

With the number of drivers affected, your car insurer will probably be handling a large volume of calls for the foreseeable future. It is best to try calling them as soon as possible to start the process. While your vehicle is likely covered for flood damage, be sure you are aware of the details of your insurance policy to avoid running into unpleasant surprises. 

Do Not Be Afraid to Claim your Vehicle as Totaled

The effects of damage due to flooding in a vehicle might not be immediately felt after initial damage. Do not hesitate to push your insurer to claim your car as totaled if you notice even hints of significant damage. This could save you time and money in the long run even if it seems rough at the moment. 

Use Caution When Choosing a Replacement Vehicle

If you need to purchase a car in the Gulf Coast area in the wake of the recent storm, use caution and be sure to do your research. It is possible that vehicles on used car lots will have experienced flood damage that could be concealed. Make sure you receive a full history of any vehicle you consider buying, purchase from a reputable dealership, and check for any obvious signs of damage you may be able to spot. 

Warning Signs of a Flood Damaged Vehicle 

 To help you determine if a vehicle has encountered flood damage, here are some initial items to be on the lookout for:

  • Moisture – Look for moisture in places that should not have it, such as the instrument panel, lights, dashboard, and console
  • Smell – Do you notice a musty odor? Use caution as sellers may use strong air fresheners in an attempt to cover smells
  • Damp Seats or Carpets – Usually, padding will not dry as quickly and will retain moisture for a longer period of time. When possible, try to check the padding of seats and carpets
  • Corrosion – Be on the lookout for corrosion and rust in places that should not have it, such as pedals, under dashboard, door jams, and seat springs

With so many things to worry about after a storm, at Palmer’s Toyota Superstore, we hope that even this small bit of information helps put your mind more at ease.