Specialist Offers Advice On Flood Recovery For Automobiles

Destiny Martin, Merrill, Thomas A.  |  6/9/2005 8:20:08 PM

News Release Distributed 06/15/01

Recent high water in many areas of the state led to vehicles that were flooded when waters rose or when motorists unexpectedly drove into high water.

LSU AgCenter engineering associate Dan Martin says avoiding even further damage is an important consideration after facing such situations.

And, even though the waters have receded for now, Martin says it's important to know what to do if you face such problems in the future. And he says there still may some actions you should take if you haven't done them already.

"When a vehicle is caught in high water, it is important to take prompt but careful action," Martin advises. "Above all, do not attempt to start the vehicle before performing a careful evaluation. Failure to do so could cause severe damage to the engine and the electrical system."

The LSU AgCenter associate says the place to start is to check the fluid levels - specifically the oil and transmission fluid.

"If water has entered the engine or the transmission, the water will force the oil to the top, resulting in a high fluid level on the dipstick," he says.

Martin also says to check the air cleaner - keeping in mind that if the air cleaner is wet or moist, there is a good chance water has entered the engine.

"If water is detected or determined to be present in any of the fluids, drain the fluids and replace immediately with uncontaminated fluid," Martin advises, adding, "Failure to immediately replace the fluid will increase the risk of engine cylinder or transmission rust."

And, while you're doing that work, Martin says it also would be wise to replace the transmission filter and spark plugs.

For the next step, examine the fuse box for moisture or standing water.

"If water is present, disconnect the negative terminal to the battery and arrange for transportation of your vehicle to an automotive service center," Martin says. "The service center will dry all electrical components and do a thorough electrical diagnostic check before starting the car.

"Whatever you do, do not attempt to start the car if there is any water in the electrical system."

Automobile carpet that has been saturated with water needs to be pulled out, cleaned and air-dried, Martin advises, cautioning, "Mold and mildew will begin growing immediately on wet carpets and will begin to smell within 12-24 hours. Drying the carpets will curtail the growth of mold and mildew."

For more information on flood recovery, contact your parish LSU AgCenter Extension office or visit the Flood/Hurricane section of the LSU AgCenter Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com

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Contact: Dan Martin at (225) 578-2229 or dmartin@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer: Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or tmerrill@agcenter.lsu.edu

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