Beware of driving in a flood

There has been an exceptional amount of rain in the last few weeks, and many motorists may have found themselves having to deal with driving conditions caused by floods. In our blog this month, we have helpful tips for what to do if you get stuck in a flood and how to avoid buying a flood-damaged vehicle.

A small amount of water

A small amount of water can wreck an engine


Flooding can happen very quickly, especially during heavy rain when drains get blocked, and rivers burst their banks. If you know that flooding is likely, it is a good idea to move your vehicle to higher ground to keep it safe from damage caused by rising water. A small amount of water can wreck an engine.


Useful tips for what to do if you get stuck in a flood:


Don’t drive into flood water that’s more than four inches deep, and when you do drive through, go slowly and don’t make any waves. Then, remember to test your brakes by tapping them a few times, as soon as you can. If you do get stuck, depending on the height of the water, call for help and wait if you can. You may get into difficulties if you try to get out.

Get the car out of the water as fast as you can, especially saltwater.

Once your car is free of the flood, don’t try to start it. The air cleaner may be damaged and may suck water into the engine causing severe problems. Don’t start the vehicle until you are confident that the key systems have been drained.


car in flood

Test your brakes as soon as you can


Things to check if your car has been standing in water:

  • Disconnect the battery to protect from electrical shock before you check the following:
  • Engine oil – if there are water deposits on your dipstick, you will have water in the engine. Change the oil.
  • Open the windows and doors. Remove any water as soon as possible to prevent rust. Remove mats. Wipe the vehicle dry and vacuum/blow-dry as quickly as possible.


cleaning upholstery

Remove water as soon as possible


  • Check brake and clutch. Don’t forget the power steering too. Water can still seep into sealed coolant reservoirs.
  • Air filter – the air filter will indicate any water in the engine. If the filer is wet, you can safely say you have water in the engine.
  • If possible, check the airbag. Airbag controllers are mainly under the driver’s seats and must be kept free of moisture to avoid activation when you least expect it.
  • Electrical systems – If any electrical systems were below the waterline, they would most likely need replacing.
  • Petrol or diesel – siphon some off from the bottom of the tank (water is heavier), and if you find water in the system, it must be flushed.


car in flood water

For sale – one careful owner…


How to avoid buying a flood-damaged vehicle:

Ensure that you know the history of any vehicle you are thinking of buying, especially knowing how to recognise water damage from flooding. A car that has been flooded or water damaged is highly unreliable.

  • It may look good on the outside but is rusting on the inside. Check it out!
  • Check the fabrics in the vehicle. Watermarks never go away. Include rugs, ceiling fabric and seat belts as well as upholstery.
  • Does it smell strongly of fresheners that mask the smell of mould?
  • Mud and silt are hard to clean out of nooks and crannies – check these too.
  • Test electrical elements such as windows, seats, radio and aircon.

It is always advisable to purchase a vehicle history report and have an experienced mechanic check any vehicle you are thinking of purchasing. Don’t forget that A1 Clutches are the specialists who can thoroughly check the clutch and gearbox. Call us today on 0121 522 2094.


Take care on the roads this winter and enjoy safe and happy driving.

With best wishes from all the team at A1 Clutches.

A1 Footer