You can still remember your famous last words, “Don’t worry, it doesn’t look that deep.” If you can feel the water splashing under the undercarriage it’s too deep. The next thing you notice is water on your floorboard. Not good. Water that gets left inside your car doesn’t just evaporate without causing damage first.
1. Check carpets and upholstery. Check also door and trim panels for dampness. If they are wet, then your used car will need professional attention. Simply air-drying the carpet is not enough; you will be soon notice that mildew and nasty odors will have come out.
2. Check seat brackets, motor, and modules. Be sure they’re free of rust and properly operating.
3. Pull the engine oil and transmission fluid dipsticks and differential plug. If the fluid appears milky or diluted, is no longer its original color, or is light brown in color, then it is likely the pans contain water. Have your car repaired immediately. Driving the car with water present may damage the internal parts and require extensive overhaul or car repairs.
4. Check the air filter for water. If it is wet, replace the air filter and change the oil.
5. Check the undercarriage, bumpers, radiator area, and frame for mud, grass, dirt, debris, and rust. If any of these are present, have your used car washed and cleaned as soon as possible. Any mechanical repairs can be checked out by your trusted mechanic and get your new car back to its perfect condition.
6. Have the brake system checked by a professional. Water-logged brake systems are especially dangerous on slippery roads.
7. Check the exterior lights for moisture and water. Replace headlights and bulbs that contain water.
8. Finally, listen for abnormal noises while the engine is running. Make a note of where the noise is coming from and take the vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible. Pay particular attention to the alternator, serpentine belt, starter, power steering unit, air conditioner, and wheel bearings. Check the suspension joints and lubricate as necessary. Many used car models are lubricated at the factory for life; however, these joints should be checked for rust as well.
By being “car care aware” and following these simple guidelines can help minimize potential damage to your new or used car. If you’d like a professional opinion on the matter, you know where to find me.