What To Do With A Water Damaged Car

Rain from the heavens can be an answered prayer for many a farmer or resident in water-restricted areas across South Africa. But when the hail and rain descends from the storm clouds in full force, - creating unpleasant and flood-like conditions - it is a major problem for motorists. A water-damaged car is often considered a write-off by insurers and an exorbitant repair operation for car-owners. So what can you do with your water or flood-damaged car?

At Sell Your Damaged Car, we have been in the business of buying cars in ANY condition for instant cash; hassle-free since 2018.

We have seen our fair share of water-damaged cars and want to offer you solid advice to weather the storm and come out the other end with options.

Flash floods have hit the provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape over the last few years, causing catastrophic damage to homes, roads, municipal infrastructure and cars.

The extent of flood damage can result in very different scenarios for your car:

Scenario A: If you discover your car bobbing through the parking lot, the chances of seeing your water-damaged car functioning again or valued at the same price are basically impossible. (This is often an irrecoverable situation for your car).

Scenario B: Your vehicle is half a meter under water. If the water level is below the car door, the chances are good that your vehicle will be fine, if you follow some good advice…

Car is surrounded by water

Steps to take if your car has been flooded:

  • Do not start the car unless you are certain that water has not entered critical engine components. If you kick on the ignition when the car is flooded, water could enter the engine and transmission causing untold damage. (Calling a tow truck is much cheaper than repairing a flooded engine).
  • Once you have moved your vehicle to a dry place, open up the bonnet, doors and boot and try to dry out the car, removing any carpets underfoot. Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess water and use towels and mops to get into hard-to-reach places. Sometimes it is even advisable to remove the seats and allow them to dry outside the car, preventing the mildew smell from entering the cabin.
  • Check the vehicle’s oil for signs of water contamination.
  • Have a professional mechanic inspect the water-damaged car before attempting to start the engine.
Water-damaged car
Did you know?

Salt water flooding is even more damaging to your car than fresh water. This is because body panels, electrical connectors and other metal components will corrode causing serious damage to your car.

What are the main disadvantages of having a water-damaged car…

  • Interiors smell unpleasant
  • Airbags, brakes, starter motors & electrical systems can be damaged
  • Rust and corrosion can creep in under the bonnet
  • Water can enter the fuel tank, damaging the fuel injectors and pump
  • Water can enter the exhaust system, compromising waterlogged catalytic converters and silencers.
Is a repair worthwhile?

Trying to repair a water-damaged car can be economically unfeasible, especially if the car has been written off by insurers.

Even if repaired, the value of the car will always depreciate once flooded.

Replacing a few rubber seals and underfoot carpets after finding yourself in a larger-than-expected puddle or pothole can be relatively inexpensive, but resurrecting a water-damaged vehicle that sat up to its side mirrors in water for a number of hours is less worthwhile.

Insurers sometimes refuse to pay out for what they believe to be avoidable flood damage or drivers who ignored warning signs; so first check with your insurer (if you have one).

Visit a mechanic and have them conduct an assessment of the extent of damage and estimated cost of repair.

Car is parked on flooded streets
What can I do with my water-damaged car?

While most car dealerships and online car selling platforms would turn their noses up at a water-damaged car - sending you on your way to a scrap yard - Sell Your Damaged Car steps in to save the day!

If you already know that the repair job will be a waste of time and money and you’re ready to sell your car at the flood scene, we will tow it away free of charge.

As the largest vehicle salvage auctioneer in South Africa, we will offer you a competitive price for your car and handle all the stressful paperwork so you can rest easy.


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