Each year, vehicles are damaged during severe storms and hurricanes throughout the United States, and often, that leaves the flooded cars totaled.
There aren’t too many amphibious vehicles in people’s driveways, meaning that many cars are susceptible to water damage. This can lead to terrible smells, mold, damaged upholstery, and engine problems. Rust can build up in nooks and crannies and electric devices can be destroyed when a car is flooded. If you’re not doing enough to protect your car from water damage, it could end up totaled following some especially harsh weather, especially now, in the midst of hurricane season.
Hurricane-prone states have high concentrations of water-damaged cars
Flood damage occurs all over the U.S., though it is most common in areas often hit hard by severe storms. CARFAX listed the states with the highest number of flooded cars:
- Texas – 30,010
- New Jersey – 28,644
- Pennsylvania – 13,159
- Kentucky – 9,692
- Louisiana – 9,349
- Illinois – 9,305
- New York – 9,190
- Florida – 8,801
- Mississippi – 7,342
- Virginia – 7,321
Many of these states have been hit hard by hurricanes in recent years. If you live in any of these states, or otherwise expect harsh weather to roll through your area soon, it may be wise to brush up on ways to detect water damage, as well as prevent it. Keep an eye out for rust, mud, moisture beads, and mold all over the car, including the hard-to-look places. Additionally, try turning on the ignition and checking the vehicle’s instrument panel lights, as well as other tools that use the car’s battery such as the air conditioning, windshield wipers, radio, heater, turn signals, and heater.
How to prevent vehicle water damage
However, one thing better than knowing how to find water damage, is knowing how to prevent it. If you live in one of the 10 states listed above especially, but anywhere really, you should be aware of how to best protect your vehicle from water damage.
1. Keep everything sealed
If a storm is approaching, and your car is outside, make sure that you steal it up. Roll up the windows, make sure the doors are shut, and close the sunroof. If any water seeps inside your vehicle it can damage the interior, leave behind a nasty smell, and create a perfect environment for mold. Also, if you have any cracks in your windows, make sure they are repaired or appropriately sealed prior to a storm, since these can also let moisture in.
2. Head for the hills
If a storm is approaching, and the area you live in is fairly hilly, you might be able to take advantage of those hills. Parking your car high up will help you avoid pools of water that may form in lower-lying areas, keeping the undercarriage of your car safe from harmful water.
3. Avoid powering through the puddles
After a storm there are bound to be plenty of deep pools of still water in the roads. Avoid them as much as possible. When you’re on the road, keep an eye out for puddles and try to judge how deep they are. If the water is going to reach areas of your car susceptible to damage, try to avoid the still pools. If you have to drive through deep puddles, though, make sure not to stop, but rather, maintain a slow and steady speed through the water.
Water damage can essentially total your car, and it is important to take careful steps to avoid it, especially if you live in a flood-prone area. Also make sure to compare car insurance quotes, to find one that is affordable and will help you cover the costs of water damage, should it unfortunately happen.