Tips for flood-damaged cars and motorcycles

Published November 12, 2020, 8:17 PM

by Inigo Roces


The recent typhoon has left parts of the country submerged once again. Besides our homes, chances are, another victim of the high flood waters is our treasured cars and motorcycles.

If your vehicle has been submerged in flood water, don’t worry as it may not be the end of its life just yet. However, there are certain things you have to do to prevent further damage.

Set appointments

First, we recommend making an appointment with your trusted service center or casa. Second, arrange a way to bring it there, either by towing it with another vehicle or through a trusted towing service. These are important to arrange as soon as possible as it may take a while to get a slot with the number of affected vehicles.

Once you have contacted your nearest dealer of service station and scheduled an appointment, there are a few items that can be done to prepare your vehicle.

Disconnect the battery

Disconnect the battery terminals as soon as possible to avoid any electrical malfunction. Even if the vehicle is off, several of the car’s systems (especially in newer cars) may continue to operate and could be grounded. Do not turn the ignition switch ON, and most importantly, do not attempt to start the engine.

Remove the spark plugs

If you suspect that flood water has entered the vehicle’s engine, remove the spark plugs or glow plugs. , If mud has entered the engine and solidified, leaving them in may subject them to further corrosion and may be more difficult to remove later on.

Drain water

Drain any water left inside the vehicle. Be sure to remove the seats, seat covers, carpet, rear parcel shelf and matting. If you have the tools, open up parts like the airbox, battery box (in motorcycles) and storage areas. Wash and dry under the sun until completely dry. Ventilate and dry the interior of the vehicle by leaving the doors open.

Prepare your paperwork

Go over your vehicle’s documents and have them ready for your appointment with your dealer or casa. It’s also a good time to review your insurance policy for coverage. If you have an Acts of God clause as part of your insurance policy, it may cover the repair costs (or replacement) of your car or motorcycle.

Transport it

Have your vehicle towed to the nearest dealer for diagnosis, repair and cleaning. Be sure to tow the vehicle with the drive wheels off the ground. Consult your owner’s manual or call your dealer if you are unsure.

We do not recommend attempting to personally repair or diagnose the vehicle. Flood damage is a more serious issue and can be very challenging if attempted on your own. It is better to consult a professional to diagnose the condition of the vehicle and extent of repair.