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Flooded prius

Yesterday my driverless 2008 Prius surged from park to drive, drove several hundred feet down the road, veered off down a meadow and into a lake. Several bystanders plunged into the lake and pulled the car toward the bank and a helpful samaritan pulled it out with a tractor. The car was submerged about 20-30 minutes up the the base of the windows and had about a foot of water in the interior. The car was taken to the local Toyota dealer, but because this happened on Saturday, the car will not be looked at until tomorrow, Monday. Can this car be repaired? Hybridmom

That remains to be seen. One question however…does the Prius have a parking brake? It should have been on if it does have one.

I suggest that you contact your insurer immediately if you haven’t already.

As long as the car was allowed to drain completely before starting, it could be salvageable. I hope that you did not try to start it.

Hate to say it but I doubt you’d want it repaired, with all the electronics, interconnects and wiring present on something that wasn’t meant to be submerged…

Re: parking brake, no, although car was not on an incline and was supposed to be turned off. Power off button was pressed but due to severe arthritis in my hands, I’m guessing I didn’t press it hard enough to shut off engine. Car was in park gear. Insurance Co was notified. hybridmom

You don’t want this car back. Sorry to say its totaled. Just glad you were not hurt. Do your homework and get the best settlement you can. Most if not all insurance company’s will totaled a car for less water damage. Also if your insurance company does not totaled it or try’s to talk you into fixing it. Drop them after you settle.

Total loss.
Call you insurance carrier
oldbody is correct, you don’t want to drive this car.

All the important parts of the car were underwater for a significant amount of time. The gas motor, electric motor, the main battery pack, transmission, steering rack, etc. Go to to find the value of the car with the number of miles you have on it. Hopefully your insurance company will give you a settlement for the value and declare the car a total loss.

Sorry. Flooding isn’t good for any car, ever. Might be time for something new, or new to you.

I also vote gone’er. Especially because it’s a prius, and there is just so many electronics in that car. Not to meantion the entire interior is most likley toast due to potential mold.

You can count this as one more vote for getting rid of that car.
As MarkM pointed out, flooding isn’t good for any car, but on a car with the extremely complex electronics of a hybrid, it is undoubtedly much worse.

And, hopefully, the OP has learned that the parking brake should always be set, except during periods of freezing precipitation, as the brake can freeze in the “on” position, making the car impossible to move until it thaws.

Additionally, I don’t use my parking brake is when the car is parked in my level garage, on a rubber parking stop that has a “hump” in front of and in back of one of the tires. But, at all other times I do use the parking brake–except during freezing conditions.

I am going to take a little different view.  It may well be salvageable.  However, there are a number of "IF"s 

My suggestion is to start by contacting your insurance company and see what they say.  Flooding is certainly not a good thing for any car, but I would do a little homework and see what the insurance company has to say before making a decision.  

OK I suspect that in the end it will be salvaged, but not every case is going to be the same.  One negative to keep in mind is if it is declared a salvaged car, that is going to greatly reduce the market value.  The market value means little to you as long as you own the car.  However if and when you decide to sell the car, it is going to be difficult to sell. 

 I would start with a discussion with my insurance company.  Then I would review the facts and make my decision.   

 Too many people write off any flood car. 

 Finally I fear that your car is more likely than most to suffer expensive damage due to the event.

Good Luck

Read the original post again, guys. This story is fiction.

  1. A car can not move “several hundred feet down the road” then “veer off” without a driver
  2. NO WAY any number of bystanders could physically move a 3000 lb submerged car toward the bank
  3. Doubt anyone would bother getting wet to try to save a car with no people in it

Tell the insurance company the truth about what happened or you could be in serious legal trouble.

If is fiction or not, it is possible to move a car in water with a few people. If you got to it just after it went in and the doors are closed and windows are up. It will float for a few minutes. You then could push it till it hit bottom. My buddy’s boat sank. It was a 21 ft with a cabin. It had air trapped in it and I could move it. That was a site to see. It was bow up on the bottom. But as you said it most likely not happen the it was told.

I hope someone uTubed the event. It’d be a scream to watch, no doubt.


Your insurer will determine how much it costs to repair. If it’s more than a replacement car is worth, you should be in allowed the money instead of repairs. It depends on what type of insurance you have. I’m not an expert on insurance, but any reputable insurer will be straight with you.

Good luck. I’m sorry to hear about your health problems. I’m also growing older, and have my share of problems, too. I hope the insurer accounts for the arthritis and pays up. Get back to us and tell us how things progress. I’m pulling for you, and hope to hear a happy conclusion. Well, as happy as it can be under the circumstances.

Add me to the long list of doubters. Unfortunately, the insurance is going to have the biggest say in this.

Sincere best.

I too would be very nervous if the insurance company says they will fix the car. Even if it runs fine when it’s turned back to you, you don’t know when the moisture in the many electrical connections will lead to problematic corrosion.