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Action Steps to Prevent Hurricane Damage to Vehicles

Flooded Vehicles May be Dangerous and Should be Inspected Before Use

ROANOKE, Va., Sept. 16 -- Countless vehicles are damaged or lost as a result of the recent hurricanes that inflicted more than $40 billion in property damage. As additional hurricanes threaten the U.S., drivers can take several steps to protect their vehicles, according to Bryan Gregory, Advance Auto Parts' consumer education manager.

In addition to closing all doors and windows in the vehicle and parking away from trees, carports and loose objects that may become airborne, drivers should:

    * Deflate tires to between 20 and 25 PSI.  Doing so will give the
      vehicle increased density and flex, allowing it to better withstand
      winds and requiring more water to float the vehicle away.
    * Use sandbags if available, and build a sandbag wall around the
    * If the vehicle is equipped with an air filter box, stuff a towel or an
      inflated balloon into the air box to prevent flood waters from
      entering the air intake and internal engine parts.

If despite these efforts, a vehicle is damaged by flood waters, do not attempt to start the vehicle without first checking the following items.

    * If flood waters entered the passenger compartment (indicated by wet
      carpets) and the vehicle is equipped with an airbag, do not attempt to
      start the car as there is a risk of the airbag deploying.
    * If the vehicle does not have an airbag, there is still the risk of an
      electrical short circuit and further damage if you try to start the
    * The vehicle's interior should be steam cleaned once all mechanical
      systems have been inspected.

"Even if flood waters didn't enter the passenger compartment, the vehicle's brake system or other mechanical systems may have been affected and should be inspected by a professional before driving, particularly if the vehicle was in high water for a prolonged period," Gregory cautioned.

Gregory also suggests that if a vehicle was in flood waters for even a short period or was driven through water, one should use extreme caution while driving, and have the vehicle inspected as soon as possible.

Advance Auto Parts and its Team Members will meet the needs of residents in the areas damaged by recent hurricanes with free electrical system checks and windshield-wiper installation.