AA Ireland offers advice to owners of flooded vehicles

Following spells of localized flooding and excess surface water, AA Rescue who have been particularly busy in Cork this morning, is advising motorists whose vehicles have been partially or fully submerged in flood water to check their vehicles for signs of damage.

“It was a hideous morning in Cork and from early on we were being called out to cars that had been trapped in flood water.” Says Noel Keogh, Head of AA Rescue. “By lunchtime the picture in Munster was improving, but we had major problems with both the heavy rain and extensive traffic gridlock in Dublin. There were  motorists who found themselves causing traffic jams as their cars broke down. This is something that we are well used to but we would like to warn motorists again of just how easy it is to do expensive damage to your car in flood water.”

“The engine’s air intake on many cars is low down at the front of the car and it can take just an egg cupful of water in the combustion chamber to wreck an engine.”  Says Noel Keogh, Head of AA Rescue.

“Water doesn’t compress and the piston in effect hits a wall, bending or breaking a con rod. Driving fast, even if the intake’s above the water level could cause water to be ingested.”

While not always the case, water can cause extensive damage to a vehicle and your electrical system including your door locks, window mechanics and air conditioning are particularly vulnerable so the AA is advising concerned motorists to run through the following check list to assess for potential damage.

AA Checklist for vehicles submerged in flood water:

Check your oil indicator.  If the oil level reading appears too high there may be water and dirt in the engine.  If this is the case, don’t start your engine or you could risk doing severe damage.  If you’re an AA Member call the AA on 0818 667788 for assistance.

Determine how deep the flood water that your car was submerged in was.  Depending on the depth you may not have anything to worry about however if it was badly submerged don’t start your car until a qualified technician such as an AA Patrol has thoroughly inspected your car.  Extensive disassembly may be required for a thorough cleaning.  Dirt and grit particles contained in flood water can be abrasive to your vehicle’s components.

All contaminated fluids, such as oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power-steering fluid and anti-freeze will also need to be replaced.  Water sensitive electrical components are likely to need replacement also.  Motorists should also be mindful that some side effects such as corrosion may not appear for several weeks.

Knowledge of the depth of the water your vehicle was submerged in will aid the technician in assessing the potential damage done and the steps required to repair your car.

Also determine for what length of time your car was submerged.   The prognosis for a vehicle submerged for a long period is generally less positive than one  with short term exposure all other things being equal.

Consider whether it was fresh or salt water that your car was submerged in.  Salt water can cause more extensive damage and corrosion of components is far more likely to occur.

The AA, which is one of Ireland’s largest insurance providers with more than 200,000 customers, is also advising motorists whose vehicles have been adversely effected by flood water to get in touch with their insurance provider to initiate their claims process.