Driving through Puddles

The weather in New Hampshire has thrown us all for a loop this winter, and it’s had negative effects on more than just the ski industry.

I rent an apartment at a pretty nice house and, since the rent is decent and we have a lot of space, I’m hesitant to move. The only problem with the place is that when it rains (as it has been doing for about a week - and as it is currently doing right now!!) the driveway floods. Sometimes it’s only a couple of inches, but today there are certain areas where it’s up to mid-wheel on my '95 Honda Accord. I have to drive through those deep areas to get in and out of the driveway.

So here’s my question - will driving through these deep puddles (the displacement/waves of which I’m concerned will reach the undercarriage of my car) affect my car? Additionally, can my landlord be held liable for any necessary repairs as it’s his driveway?

As long as you drive VERY slowly through those deep puddles, no damage to the car is likely to take place.

However, I would hope that the place where you choose to park the car does not have water that deep, as a drop in temperatures could cause the tires to be frozen in place–literally. In other words, even if you have to drive through some very deep water in your driveway, always try to park in an area with minimal water depth.

Also–do NOT use the parking brake/e-brake when parking, as a drop in temperatures will almost surely cause the parking brake/e-brake to freeze in the “on” position.

Go through S-L-O-W-L-Y. Any splash up may be sucked into the intake manifold and hydrolock the engine. I hope that by ‘mid-wheel’ means half way up the rubber sidewall, not halfway up the entire wheel assembly. That is way too deep for this car.

Also, talk to your landlord. If he is aware of the problem, he should get some work done to improve the drainage. It may be a simple as clearing a drain or raking some leaves and grub.

If you’re renting part of a private residence, and the owner also lives in the residence, the owner is not liable for any damage that may occur. The owner can’t be forced to make improvements to the property if they don’t want to, if it’s also their place of residence.


I hope you realize that state statutes and even city ordinances vary widely in this regard. What you say may not be true in the OP’s town.

Splashing through puddles can also affect your mass airflow sensors and can cause your electronic ignition to fail (mainly the coils) if so equipped. I have a friend who owns a whole fleet of late model Chevy Astro vans that develop engine misses if they are driven fast through rain puddles.

I wouldn’t drive through any water that is mid wheel – I’m assuming it’s at least a foot deep. Even if you’re lucky enough to not stall out in the middle of it, it’s still going to flood the foot well of your car. If you do attempt it, go extremely slow, as your air intake is only going to be a few inches above the water line.

A big negative about driving through deep water is that water may seep into suspension components such as ball joints, tie rods, tie rod ends, etc. along with possible water seepage into wheel bearings, etc. Just for a few examples.

This can occur on the open road also and I’m of the opinion that you can’t hold the landlord responsible for this at all. Would you try to hold the city, county, or state responsible for damage caused by water pooling on an open road, intersection, etc?

If you even attempt to hold your landlord to the fire on this issue you can pretty well forget about the decent rent and lot of space benefits you now have. You will be moving very quickly.

Yeah, those hot wires don’t always like to be thermal-shocked. Just one more reason to go slow.

I have another…potholes often live under puddles. Big, deep potholes. Been there, done that.