CALIFORNIA, USA — Whether you’re planning on buying a used car or want to check up on yours, Patrick Ogeerally with Firestone Complete Auto Care in Elk Grove shares how to spot signs of water damage in your car.
He says the shop has seen an influx of cars with water damage after the flooding near the start of 2023. A few main things to look for are rust, corrosion, or damp carpeting.
Rust can appear in different locations around the car, like the spare tire —oftentimes located toward the back of the vehicle — or the inner fender weld, located near the front just inside the hood.
“You’ll see signs of rust or water that has built up from the actual flood. Vehicles nowadays are equipped with multiple electronic components. Some have a power control module–the brain of the vehicle–and if that brain gets water on it, it can cause the vehicle to die out immediately,” said Ogeerally.
The battery is another place to look for flood or water damage.
“You can also see water buildup around the battery, so if you can give it a glance and look for water residue around the battery,” said Ogeerally.
Rain can also cause issues if your seals are faulty.
“Seals can go bad and cause water to get inside the cabin as well. If you have water on your windshield or water inside, the power control module [could get] wet. It could cause the vehicle not to start or die out,” said Ogeerally.
Another thing to check is your oil dipstick. If you check it and see a sludgy material, it may be a sign water has gotten in.
Debris is another piece of the puzzle. Look underneath your vehicle and check for debris.
Ogeerally says flooding can be detrimental to your vehicle, so if you get stuck in a deep puddle, turn your car off if it’s safe to do so and never turn your car back on while it’s in water.
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