Torrential rain, rising water levels, rushing rivers and streams: the storms of the last few days have also flooded many roads. And for the coming days more thunderstorms and heavy rain are predicted. In the car you feel supposedly safe. But if you thoughtlessly drive on when there is a lot of water on the road, you risk massive damage to your car.
Most important rule: stay at home! If the water level is rising all around you, you should not drive off. The home office was already invented in the Corona pandemic. If you drive into deep water negligently or because it seems funny, no insurance pays. But if you can't avoid a trip, or you get caught in a storm on the way, the following seven tips can help.
1. Never drive recklessly into water
Even if you're a local and think you know your way around: Who knows exactly where the road has slopes and dips?? And it all comes down to centimeters. Always keep an eye on the car ahead. How deep do its wheels go??
2. Checking the water depth
If the water still fits just under the floor panel, a road can still be driven slowly. Up to a depth of about 15 centimeters a normal PW, no matter if combustion or electric car, should not be damaged. If the water is up to the sill (approximately the lower edge of the door), you should not drive in. Water can press in through the door seals. Destroy the electronics in the footwell.
3. Preventing water in the engine
If water gets into the exhaust, it's over for the catalytic converter, exhaust gas aftertreatment and usually also the engine. The same applies if the engine sucks in water through the intake tract. Advantage for SUVs: Especially serious off-road vehicles are designed for water crossings. Your engines draw in air tightly under the hood or sometimes via snorkels. But the differences between the models are big: The Land Rover Defender manages 90 centimeters water depth (so-called wading depth), a Fiat 500X is however already at 22 centimeters at the end.
4. Drive slowly
Never drive into water at full throttle! Yes, you want to get out again as quickly as possible. But the higher the speed, the bigger the bow wave in front of the tires and the radiator. Then the water spills up into the engine and shuts it down. This is how it's done: turn on the hazard warning lights, engage a low gear, and drive in slowly and as smoothly as possible. Roll at a constant speed and rpm and do not stop if possible. Once you are out of the water, stop briefly and check at least externally whether there is any damage to the car.
5. Never into an underpass
Never drive into a flooded underpass! Not even if there is only a few meters of water – the water could be deeper than you can see from the outside. For a short time, a vehicle can even float up -. Without wheel adhesion you will not get out of the water again.
6. Quickly out of the car
If you are already in a flooded underpass: Switch off the engine and get out of the car quickly. If the water pressure prevents you from opening the doors, you have to get out through the window. Important: leave the ignition key in the ignition if possible. Then the steering wheel lock will not engage and rescue workers can later move the car to clear the underpass again.
7. Then have the car checked
And when the water has drained away again: Don't just start the car, move it to a dry place, disconnect the battery and have it transported to the garage. Only he can check if engine or electronics are damaged.