Published on September 7th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Can Flood-Damaged Cars Be Recovered?

Some professional ideas shared with us on flood damage which might be useful some day for you.

With recent flash floods in Klang Valley showing cars, SUV’s and even pickup trucks being washed away by strong flood waters in areas like Subang Jaya, there are car owners sitting and wondering if they can bring their flood damage cars back to life. Money is the biggest stumbling block for these middle class car owners and with no insurance they need to make tough decisions.

Well, It depends entirely on the extent of the flood damage that has occurred to your car, as well as how much money you are willing to invest in restoring it.

Whether or not a flood-damaged car can be repaired depends on a few factors, including:

  • Whether the vehicle was considered a total loss by your insurance provider
  • The extent of damage and corrosion to the vehicle
  • The components that will require replacement
  • Whether or not the engine is flooded with water

Flood damage is far more than water, as everything from mud and silt to trash and even snakes can end up inside your car. It is now dry but still a huge mess, so tackle each section at a time.

First Thing To Do

Unplug and remove the battery from the car, and remove fuses and other electrical connections if these components were affected by water damage and let your car ‘air out’ in the hot sun.

Plastic Parts

Interior plastics like the door handles and center console buttons are very forgiving. You can use dedicated interior cleaners, your average exterior car wash soap, or even dish washing soap if that is all you have. Use whatever you have on hand just get them clean and dry.

The Carpet

Vehicle carpet gets dirty just through everyday use, so there are many carpet cleaners designed to solve your issue. Some are easy to use and some others a little more labor intensive and call for or come with a stiff brush to help work the cleaner into the carpet. Repeat the steps as needed. If you cannot get the carpet 100 percent clean, or if it is extensively damaged, then best to replace the carpet.

The Upholstery

Cloth seats can be cleaned with the same carpet and upholstery cleaners mentioned in the above for cleaning carpets. You want to use upholstery cleaner on the seats, armrests, and basically anything cloth, due to the need to gently lift stains and prevent mildew odors. Upholstery cleaner can do that.

Leather seats have a few different requirements. Use a leather cleaner to prevent stains on the seats. If your spray isn’t a 2-in-1, spring for the separate leather conditioner as well. It’s an extra step but worth it to restore that factory-new feel.

The Metal Bits

Iron and steel rusts slowly just being out in the open air, but the process speeds up dramatically when exposed to water. Oxygen molecules bond to the metal, changing it into a much weaker oxide we call rust. Just knowing how the process works, we can take some steps to prevent it.

In an empty vehicle interior, lay down a coat of baking soda. Yes, a simple a box of baking soda from the grocery store. Cleaning and drying a steel part temporarily slows rust, but baking soda is alkaline and extremely dry, which massively inhibits rust formation. Of course, you now need to get rid of the baking soda, and a standard home vacuum works well here.

Painted metal can be cleaned with any mild detergent, such as an exterior car wash soap, interior cleaner, degreaser, painted wheel cleaner, dish soap, or even our favorite hand soap. Use what you have.

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