The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Auto Dealers Urge Prompt Action to Restore Flooded Vehicles

    MCLEAN, Va., Aug. 17 Severe weather across the nation has
led to flooding in many parts of the country, including Florida, Texas, West
Virginia, Illinois, Texas, Alabama and Virginia. In its wake are large numbers
of flood-damaged cars and trucks -- many in need of costly restoration.

    With the National Weather Service predicting an active 2002-2002 hurricane
and storm season on the way, the problem of flood-damaged vehicles may only
intensify in upcoming months.

    "Owners of these vehicles are often left wondering what to do," said
Robert Maguire, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association
(NADA). "The good news is that there are steps individuals can take to reduce
long-term damage and limit financial loss."

    NADA offers 10 tips on how to safely restore flooded vehicles:

    *  Do not start a flooded vehicle until a thorough inspection and cleaning
       is performed.

    *  Take immediate steps to dry the vehicle as much as possible so as to
       reduce the length of time vehicle components are exposed to water.

    *  Contact your insurance carrier or agent and promptly report the
       exposure of your vehicle to water or flood.

    *  Record the highest level of water exposure on a flooded vehicle. This
       will aid qualified technicians in evaluating and taking the necessary
       steps to correct any damage.

    *  Contact a certified technician to arrange for an inspection and
       evaluation of the flooded vehicle.

    *  Have a qualified technician inspect all mechanical components,
       including the engine, transmission, axles, brake and fuel system for
       water contamination.

    *  Have a qualified technician flush and replace all fluids, oils and
       lubricants, and replace all filters and gaskets for components exposed
       to water. While a vehicle may drive with fluids that have experienced
       water intrusion, extended internal exposure to water will increase the
       level of damage to the engine and other vehicle components.

    *  Many repair facilities recommend a thorough cleaning of brake parts and
       repacking of bearings, particularly for rear-end drive vehicles. In
       front-wheel drive vehicles, bearings are sealed.

    *  Some of today's vehicles have padding and insulation that do not easily
       release moisture. In this situation, it is most effective to replace
       the materials to prevent the forming of mold or mildew that may
       contaminate the entire vehicle. With mildew, a repair that may have
       cost only $100, can easily escalate.

    *  Have a qualified technician inspect all wiring and electrical
       components exposed to water. While many components are protected from
       casual water exposure, extended flood exposure may have lingering
       effects. In some instances, difficulty due to water exposure will not
       surface earlier than 90 days, when computer and other electrical
       components begin to corrode.

    While significant exposure to water can have lasting effects on the
operability and life-expectancy of a vehicle, early and proper corrective
action is the best way an owner can protect his vehicle and limit losses.
Prompt intervention can often significantly limit vehicle damage that could
result from flood or extended water exposure.