Rains, floods and your vehicle!

Lately, there has been an increase in the rate and amount of rainfall. Often times, the storm begins without signs and could last for several hours. This can put a lot of strain on the driver, passenger and the vehicle as visibility is impeded, roads become hazardous and difficult to navigate.

As a car owner, besides making driving difficult and getting held up in traffic, the rainy season can also cause various damages to your vehicle.

Let’s check out a few ways this can happen;

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Paint damage

Due to atmospheric pollution caused by human activity, acid rain has become a problem in large cities owing to large amounts of pollutants. Once a vehicle’s paint job is contaminated by acid rain, it etches into it upon drying, which can only be removed by polishing and buffing its finish. Don’t delay the necessary repairs because the longer the vehicle remains tainted, the more damage to the paint job and finishing. Washing the car regularly during this season should not be overlooked especially when it is exposed to muddy, salty or flood water.


Potential mechanical problems

Water can cause corrosion, causing your vehicle’s metallic parts to rust. With prolonged exposure, it can dissolve just about anything. A preventive measure in protecting your vehicle would be to locate and seal, dents or cracks that rainwater could sip through/into. These should be fixed without delay, as it will only deteriorate.

Water ingress into mechanical components will cause them to corrode, it is particularly worse for those that require lubricants such as grease. Water dislodges the grease, causes corrosion and friction to prematurely wear out the parts. This could lead to expensive repairs.


Too much water damages your car’s health

When there’s a storm brewing real hard, stay indoors unless it’s an absolute emergency. Floodwater can easily pour inside your car and damage it to the point that it’s cheaper to buy a new car than an attempt to repair what you drove.

This is because once water enters your vehicle, it can damage  everything it gets into contact with. So, avoid large bodies of water at all costs.  Interior water damage on a vehicle can potentially render it unusable.

Rusty floor panels, damp carpets (breeding mould) Damp fabric/leather seats are all recipe for irritation at best. Cleaning these out is an arduous task, the fact that some are actually irreversible makes it worse.


Engine and transmissions fluids become vulnerable to critical damage

Water can slip inside the engine and irreparably damage it, which is dangerous especially when you try to start a car with water still trapped in the crankcase.

Once these fluids mix with water, the car might not work as before and could cause unintended consequences.

An engine is a compressor and liquids generally can’t be compressed, therefore water in the engine will lead to hydro lock. Hydrolock will damage the weakest link in the compression cycle “the connecting rod”. This “rod” is the link between the engine crankshaft and the pistons, as such damage to it ruins the engine.

A mixture of water and engine/transmission oil removes the lubricity of the oil,  leading to excessive wear on the components, thereby ruining them. Make sure to remove water or wait for it to dry up before starting the engine.


Vehicle interior smell

While water won’t damage your interior, it will, however, leave mildew and cause an unpleasant odour inside your car while it is still running. Stocking up on air fresheners won’t do; either visit your local carwash or invest an hour into cleaning your vehicle from the inside out.

Of course, if you followed the preventive steps above, you wouldn’t have to face any of these consequences.

Reduces your car battery performance

Your car battery is one of the most essential parts of your car, and its health determines how your car performs. During the rainy season, your battery undergoes immense pressure as a result of the additional and increased use of other parts like the wipers, headlamps, heating/air-conditioner and hazard lights. So if you find it hard to start your car or your battery shows signs of bloating during rainy weathers, then the rain most likely played a part in that. Testing the state of the starting, charging and battery systems on your vehicle at intervals is key to avoiding such disappointment.


Wears out wiper blades

If there’s any time your wiper blades do more work, it is during the rainy season, as there’s a need to use them and thus causing them to wear out. When the wiper blades become dry and worn out, they leave behind streak marks as they move along the glass. This streak marks can, over time, cause permanent damage to your windshield, limiting your visibility in the rain. It is most advisable to keep spare blades in the vehicle during this season.


Electrical problems

Water ingress into various parts of a vehicle could be more catastrophic when moisture finds its way into electrical connections, fuse boxes and electronic controllers. This sort of damage could sometimes be progressive and perennial. This will shortcircuit the systems and might require expensive repairs.

Otherwise, mechanical or battery failure may result in the long term.

The rains are inevitable; flooding is preventable; mitigating its effect on your vehicle should not be negotiable!