Drove the car through a modest flooding water stream

2006 Toyota Camry base 5 speed manual transmission. I drove my car through a modest flooding water stream yesterday evening to go to work on an emergency. The water was about 1 feet deep, and the stream was about 8 feet wide. It took me about 10 seconds to cross it on the the 1st gear going at about about 5MPH. I just followed other cars crossing due to the road being on a spot where it’s not possible to turn around, and I had to make it to work otherwise I could have been stuck on the road for hours and the stream could have gotten wider and submerged my car. Water was about 1 feet deep, and it took me about 10 seconds (possibly less) to cross it. How likely is it I have damaged my car? Do mechanics tend to inspect your car free for something like this if you take it in for an engine oil change and ask them to have a look around?

I would give it a pass, and wait and see if problems present themselves.

Other than pulling open the air filter cover and seeing if its wet inside, there isn’t much else to do. If it IS wet replace it immediately!

If you damaged your car it most likely would have been a catastrophic engine failure that you’d KNOW right away. Just stay out of high water, you never know how high it is until really bad things occur.

And just a comment about this;

Would you expect your doctor to give you a free check up? Would you expect your lawyer to give you a free contract review? The answer is no. The mechanic is the same. I’m not trying to be mean here, just putting it into perspective.

The guy who does your oil changes is very likely an individual we’d not call a mechanic. If you want the educated, experienced guy to have a look around, be prepared to tell him why you want him to look and pay him for his time.


A foot is deep enough to have submerged the rocker panels, door bottoms, etc. These areas and similar undercarriage cavities, while they drain and vent far better than they did in the old days, still are not designed to be immersed. If you had an engine problem you’d know it by now. It would have presented itself immediately. However, you may experience corrosion in the long term that’s directly related to the stream forging. But even on a rack it’d be impossible to identify this until the corrosion begins.

Note that if you got the carpets wet you’ll probably be fighting mold and mildew too, but I’m guessing you would have mentioned that if you had.

Not a chance. Nor should they. Expertise is how they make their money. And if it’s a quickie lube, they wouldn’t even know how to look. They barely know how to change oil… and often screw that up.

Don’t worry one iota about it.

You did the right thing.

When you drive slowly thru deep water, the vehicle creates a wake much like a boat.

This pushes the water away from the vehicle as it passes thru the water.

Now, had you stopped the vehicle in the middle of that stream, water would have filled the body panels and probably have filled the interior with water.

But if you came out on the other end high and dry?

Nothing to worry about.



That much water will do serious damage to a Subaru.

Time will tell.