Updated at: 08-07-2022 - By: cnbusinessnews

If your automobile has been flooded or damaged by water, you’ll want to know how to clean a water-damaged car. To help you complete your assignment quickly and effectively, here are the five steps you’ll need. It’s not impossible to save a water-damaged car if you know what to do and respond quickly.

If water penetrates the engine of your car, it can cause serious harm. It appears to be a hydro-blockage.

You may have to spend a big amount of money on repairs if you leave it on for a long period of time. When it comes to repairing a water-damaged car, the degree of the damage and your willingness to clean and repair it carefully are the most important considerations.

What Should I Do if My Car is Caught in a Flood?

Avoid flooded places at all costs. Take a detour if water is spotted on the road ahead. If it’s as deep as it appears to be, be wary. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of flood deaths occur when automobiles are driven into flood water.

A flash flood is a type of flood that occurs quickly and can be extremely dangerous because of its destructive intensity. When it rains, these things can happen quickly and unexpectedly.

In densely populated regions, buildings, roads, roadways, and parking lots can all contribute to water runoff, increasing the risk of flash floods. When storm drains and sewers are overburdened or congested, it causes flash floods on the roads nearby.

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Just 6 inches of water can cause you to lose control of your car. The threat will increase in the event of a rise in the level of the water. In shallow water, your tires can be used as a flotation device. A 3,000-pound automobile can float in two feet of water (a 2019 Honda Civic Sedan weighs about 2,762 lbs).

The San Antonio Fire Department offers the following advice if your vehicle is submerged in water:

  • Get out of your automobile as soon as possible and head for a more elevated location.
  • Try not to freak out if your automobile gets washed into the river and drowned. Wait patiently for the automobile to fill up with water before you panic. You can open a door once the car is full. Water pressure must be leveled inside and out of the car before a door may be opened. Take a deep breath, then swim to the surface
  • To avoid being swept away in a fast-moving river, position your feet downstream. Over impediments, like tree branches in the water, is always preferable to beneath obstacles, like rocks in the sand.
  • If you’re stranded atop a building or tree that’s higher than the floodwater, don’t move. Instead, wait for help to arrive. Do not get into the floodwaters.
  • Stay calm and follow the rescue team’s instructions when they come.

What Should I Do With My Car After a Flood?

Be cautious about getting back to your vehicle until the floodwaters have receded. You can have your car hauled to a higher location if necessary. Here are a few pointers for dealing with a wet car:

  • Flooded cars can’t be started. There is a risk of further harm if water is present in the engine.
  • Get rid of any standing water by using a wet/dry vacuum.
  • Towels can be used to remove any water that has seeped into the cushions and chairs.
  • If you can, use dehumidifiers and fans.
  • You should contact your car insurance company and make a claim.

How Does Flood Damage Occur?

Driving across a flooded street is one of the most prevalent sources of water damage in a vehicle. Water can swiftly leak into your vehicle in certain instances, and you may not be aware of it. Avoid driving through flooded regions if at all feasible for your own safety and the safety of your vehicle.

Damage can be caused by leaving windows or sunroofs open during a strong downpour. Mold and mildew thrive in places where water can get in, even if you can’t see it. Flooding can occur in vehicles that have poor or faulty sealing after a heavy storm.

Of course, water-related car accidents can also lead to flooded vehicles. If you lose control of your car while driving into a lake, or if you lose hold on a boat ramp, a truck could slide into a waterway. These occurrences are distressing, and saving your car after it has swam is rarely worth the effort.

Steps In Cleaning Water Damaged Car

You’ll learn how to clean a flooded or water-damaged car in this guide, as well as some helpful hints and advice. A few minor repairs may be necessary, but the major goal is to eliminate all traces of water from the interior of the car.

Step #1. Assessment

There is an initial assessment that must be made. Find out what has to be replaced, cleaned, and then reinstalled in the afflicted locations.

Some pieces may not work as well as they once did, but they can still be useful if you keep them well-maintained. Make a list of all the supplies you’ll need when cleaning the car’s inside.

Step #2. Dismantling

After assessing the situation and acquiring the necessary supplies, the following stage is to dismantle the inside of the vehicle. Remove anything that can be removed from the vehicle’s interior.

Your water-damaged car will be easier to clean if you use this method. Disconnecting your car’s electrical components is an important part of the disassembly procedure to prevent further harm.

Step #3. Drying

The interior of your car should be thoroughly dried and any remaining water should be flushed out now that it is empty. Allow the air to flow freely and fast through your car, and do so as quickly as possible. You can speed things up by employing fans and water vacuums.

With silica gel, you can try to get rid of as much moisture as possible from the car’s interior. Mold and mildew can grow and spread if there is any water left in the automobile after it has been washed.

This will allow you to see if all of your car’s mechanical parts are still functional after drying it. It can also salvage any submerged components that are still functional.

Step #4. Clean thoroughly

Once the automobile has dried, you can proceed to cleaning the interior. A car’s interior cleaning and drying may seem incongruous. Even so, it will aid in the removal of any bacteria present and improve the scent of the vehicle’s interior.

Using heavy-duty cleaning solutions might make the job of washing your vehicle a lot easier than it should be. Remove the carpet and wash it separately. After you’ve cleaned and dried the interior, deodorize the car.

Step #5. Reassemble

The next stage is to reassemble your automobile once you’ve cleaned the interior and all of its components. Put everything back together the way it was before you started cleaning the automobile.

Check to see sure everything is working properly by reconnecting all of the electrical components. Finally, you’ve got it. Your water-damaged car has now been cleaned to its original condition.

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What Type of Car Insurance Do I Need for Flood Damage?

In the event of a totaled vehicle, comprehensive auto insurance will cover the cost of repairs or the vehicle’s market value. A deductible is the amount of money that is removed from an insurance check when a comprehensive claim is made. Your deductible will be listed on the declarations page of your auto insurance policy. Changing the amount is possible.

In addition to accidents caused by falling objects, hail, theft, vandalism, rioting, and collisions with animals, comprehensive insurance also covers these incidents.

There is a National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) study that shows that comprehensive insurance costs roughly $160 per year.

Gap insurance may be an option if you have a large car loan. A loan or lease “gap” is the difference between the car’s market value and the amount of money you still owe.

Insurance companies may allow you to add new car replacement insurance if you recently acquired a new car. Instead of compensating the depreciated worth of the car, new car replacement pays you a new car of the same make and model (less your deductible).

Will FEMA Pay for Flooded Car Damage?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) programs are two ways that FEMA has helped flood-damaged car owners in the past.

When it comes to flood-related car damage, FEMA isn’t going to help. That’s due to the fact that there is no promise of aid and it may only be available to impacted counties.

SBA or ONA funding is unlikely to be available for an issue like a flash flood, which might occur anywhere in the country.

Keep in mind that an SBA loan must be repaid, and ONA help may be limited. On the heels of Hurricane Michael in 2018, ONA offered financial help to anyone in Florida who were harmed by the storm. Nevertheless, the help was restricted to $4,000 for storm-related flood damage. If your car is totaled in a flood, that may not be enough to cover the cost of repairs. With comprehensive auto insurance, you’ll save money in the long run.

If You’re Buying a Used Car, Beware of Flood Damage

Flood-damaged autos should be avoided if you’re looking for a used car. Carfax estimates that more than 446,000 vehicles will be on the road in 2020 that have been damaged by flooding. Furthermore, this figure is anticipated to rise. An further 5,000 vehicles may have been harmed by Hurricane Laura in August 2020.

If you’re looking to buy a car, you may want to avoid purchasing a vehicle that has been damaged by floodwaters, according to Carfax.

It’s easy for thieves to strip these vehicles, relocate them, and then resell them, according to Carfax’s data chief Faisal Hasan. Waterlogged cars will never be the same again.

Using Carfax’s free Flood Check tool, you can see where flood-damaged vehicles may have been sold. Flood damage can be detected in a car by looking for the following seven signs:

  • The interior has a musty odor. Air freshener could be used to mask the smell.
  • Inconsistencies in upholstery, carpet, or stains that don’t appear to be consistent.
  • Carpets that have been left wet for too long.
  • Door and pedal rust, as well as rust on trunk latches and inside the hood, are all signs of corrosion in an older model car.
  • Dirty under the seats or inside the glove box.
  • Under the dashboard, brittle wiring.
  • The instrument panel or outside lights are obscured by fog or moisture beads.

Is it worth cleaning a water damaged car?

When deciding whether or not to clean a water-damaged vehicle, it is important to consider the degree of the water damage and how long it has been since the incident. Cleaning your car would be pointless if the harm caused by the water is beyond repair.

Cars that have been submerged in water can cost a lot of money to clean and repair, so if you’re ready to invest the money, it may be worth it. You need to keep in mind that water-damaged autos aren’t just a matter of cleaning.

What are the common problems with water damaged cars?

Electrical, mechanical, corrosion, and mold problems are among the most typical issues that water-damaged vehicles may have to contend with. Keep in mind that automobiles aren’t meant to be submerged, and as a result, not all of its components are watertight.

Hydro locking is another issue that might arise, especially when driving. Water entering the engine through the air intake is the most common source of this type of problem.


How do you clean water out of your car?

Baking soda is a simple and inexpensive way to combat excess moisture in your home. Baking soda cans should be left open in the car with all the doors and windows closed while you drive. Using baking soda on a vehicle’s surface is not recommended. Excess moisture can be absorbed by baking soda while remaining in the open container.

Can you clean water damage?

Soak up as much water as possible before cleaning and disinfecting walls, floors, and furniture to remove water damage. A professional cleaner should handle the cleaning of expensive or unusual artifacts.

How do you clean a car after it rains?

No, I don’t think so. To clean a rain-soaked car if you don’t have time to wash it or have it de-decorated, you can simply wipe it down with a damp cloth. You should, of course, use a microfiber cloth to avoid damaging the paint.

How do you know if your car is Hydrolocked?

A noticeable stutter will be heard from your engine. Depending on how much water is drawn into the cylinder, you may hear a loud knocking noise as the cylinder fills up. Your engine will shut down with a thump after a brief period of time.

Where can you wash your own car?

How do you clean up water damage?

  1. The gas and electricity should be turned off immediately.
  2. Protect yourself by donning safety gear.
  3. Remove all saturated goods and any water that is still standing. Remove muck using a shovel. Remove the insulation and inner wall surfaces from the wall.
  4. Disinfect with a bleach solution after scrubbing the surfaces.
  5. Before reassembling, properly dry the area.

What can I spray after water damage?

Use a 10% bleach/90% water solution instead (a stronger bleach solution will not give better results). Allow the solution to stay for 10 minutes before rinsing and allowing it to dry.

Should I wash my car after it rains?

Having your car washed shortly after a rainstorm is the best option if you can’t get it done before it starts to rain. So that pollutants such as water marks are removed before they have a chance to etch into the paint, this is a good technique to use. To remove these marks, you’ll require a professional vehicle detailing service.


We hope that this guide on how to clean water-damaged vehicles has given you the insights and knowledge you were looking for. It’s possible to consult a local car mechanic for guidance on items you’re not familiar with if you’re still unsure.

Driving or owning a car necessitates regular car care and maintenance. Having a few techniques up your sleeve will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.