The Dangers of Water Damage in Your Car

If you’ve ever spilled water or coffee in your car and weren’t able to clean it right away, you’re familiar with the small ring of moisture it left on your seat. These spots are common and hardly damaging, but excessive water can be detrimental for your health and your vehicles. 

The dangers of water damage in your car consists of compromised safety and corrosion. Water can destroy your engine components, cause peeling on the interior and be a starting point for mold and mildew, which can affect your health. 

Light flooding can be detrimental to your tires too. The temperature of the water can cause the air pressure in your tires to change. If your car has a tire-pressure monitoring system, water can damage the transmitters in the wheels. Cold temperatures, especially ice, can also create a balance problem or can damage the rims. 

VIP European Auto compiled a list of what to look out for, how to combat it and what you can do if your car’s interior is suffering. 

Driving In A Flood

Arizona is known for flooded streets during a heavy rainfall or monsoon season. Chances are, you’re going to encounter a closed road or heavily submerged curbs. For your own safety, do not attempt to drive through a flood. You run the risk of losing control of your car, getting stuck, having your vehicle float away, or getting hit by debris.

You’re also running the risk of exposing your engine and car interior to excessive water. 

This type of damage is typically referred to as hydro-lock. In these situations, water entered the car through the engine’s air intake. This can cause electrical problems such as shorting out your lights, wiring connections, computers, power seats and windows, etc.; mechanical problems like brake failures; rust; mold and mildew; and water in the oil. 

The same can be said for parking in a flood zone. If you know rain is coming, avoid parking in spots prone to gathering water. Some parking lots become filled with water and other lots are designed to funnel water into one area. Take note of the areas that flood around your home and place of work to be prepared.

Park under a covered spot as often as you can or park on higher lands to avoid water seeping into your vehicle.

What To Do If Your Water Gets In

Once water is inside your vehicle, it is very difficult to get it out. Engine components will often need to be replaced if water gets into them. Check all of your systems before driving, including your lights, blinkers, car computer, and brakes.

Salt water is tougher to deal with than fresh water too due to corrosion. 

Mold, mildew and corrosion set in immediately, so the quicker you can dry your car, the better. Mold can quickly begin to affect your health. It can cause throat and eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, wheezing, and skin irritation. 

For carpets, upholstery, and seats, water can leave lasting stains. The first step is drying out your vehicle immediately. Push down on your carpet to see how much water has seeped in. If water seeps out and covers your fingers, use a wet/dry vacuum instead of trying to air out or towel-dry your car. 

If your carpet is damp but is not thoroughly soaked, try a dehumidifier and cloth or paper towels. Keep your car doors open to air out the vehicle faster. This will speed up the drying process as well as help expel any lingering smell. You can also put your heater on full blast.

Do a thorough check of the seats and liners as well. If you notice water lines on your seat or moisture on them, use a cloth or paper towels or a wet/dry vacuum on them immediately. 

Also look in your center console, under seats, armrests, doors and headliners.

For trouble shots, such as under a seat, use a hair dryer or moisture-absorbent products like baking soda.

Once your car is dried out, do a thorough cleaning of the affected area. You should shampoo and dry everything. The shampoo will kill any lingering bacteria, cleans mold, and eliminates the smell. 

If water is leaking through the roof or windshield, check the headliner. Push against it to see if it’s damp or if its integrity is compromised. A wet headliner can peel from the roof of your car and fall off. 

Check all rubber and plastic seals to make sure they’re not peeling off as well. Look under your car and inside of your doors for rust. 

If you notice mold forming or peeling, it’s time to replace your carpet, seat fabric, upholstery, headliner, etc. VIP European Auto specializes in repairs and replacements for all vehicle makes and models. Get a free estimate today.