Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

U-boat commander

Can a car be operational after it has been fully submerged in water? Currently, sitting at the house, afraid to do anything to it.

It can be, but if you do get it running, it will be nothing but trouble from here on out.

Thanks… thats what I thought. It was in a lake for a about 3 hours. A mechanic said we could just change out all fluids and all should be fine. Didn’t want to trust that. Thanks again.

Given enough time and money anything is possible. But this won’t be costs effective. The human mind cannot comprehend the vast number of circuits, electronics, iron parts, and fluid contamination that complete submersion in water can affect. Cylinders, valvetrain parts, pumps (power steering and AC), the alternator, the entire ignition system, suspension and chassis components, everything behind the dashboard, braking components, the list is endless. And even after you got it running the water entrapped internal cavities not designed to hold water would probably rot the thing out in a very short time.

No, at the least you would have all sorts of electrical problems after a few months. Insurance companies automatically total a car anytime this happens. You can probably get a used (and dry) Neon to replace it with for less than what it would cost to sort of get yours going.

Thanks to you both. Thats what I needed to know.

I want the back story on how it got in a lake for 3 hrs.

haha… well, it was my 18 y/o daughter. right tire went off the pavement, popped the tire, scared her, and she compensated to the left. Recent flooding left water levels up to the left side of the road. The tires went into the muddy water and thats all she wrote. She was fully submerged before she knew what was happening. She swam out of the drivers side window (luckily I hadn’t fixed the a/c). Therefore the window was down. Daughter is doing well, Thank God. Car is not so much.

Well, I’d consider that to have worked out well. The car’s replaceable, the daughter not so much.

You’re telling me. Never knew a guy had such a large supply of tears.

It’s always good when you learn an important lesson and manage to walk. . er. . swim. . away from it.

Glad this had a happy ending! Offer to sell the car to the mechanic who suggested you fix it!

I’m very happy to hear that your daughter is okay. The car is only a bunch of assembled parts. The daughter is irreplacable.

Sincere best to you and yours.

I appreciate it.

Well you have no car, a car ruined by starting, Follow your mechanics advice and go from there. The longer you let it dry out the better your chances. How high was the water? If over the top of the engine I would take a few extra steps.

Personally I would turn the key and see what happens.

Thankfully the car has little monetary value being a Neon(older economy car)

Tastefully disagree, if there is a chance water has gotten into the oil disaster is imminent.

See if the mechanic who you talked to is interested in the vehicle, then let him deal with the insurance company after they total it out for you. If he doesn’t want it, laugh and say you’d figured as much, and walk away.

depends on what you need right now.

it can be salvaged, and will run for an indeterminate length of time. however within 3 or 4 months you will have seized E brake cables, the AC heater fan will stop working, the AC pump will be shot, the alternator will need replacing immediately, the car may stop srarting and staying running, due to shorts and grounds developing in the starting/ignition key system.

so it all depends on what you need NOW. Does she need the car NOW, until you (and her) save up for another? or will insurance pay it off?

personally i would work with the insurance co and total it.

There was a car imported in the early 1960’s called the Amphicar. It would go on land and water. There was a knob on the dashboard to turn on the propellers when the car was in the water and being used as a boat. I think about 3000 were imported. They weren’t very good cars and were even worse boats. I had a professor while I was in graduate school who went down an embankment and into a lake in a VW Beetle. The car floated long enough for the prof and his colleague to get out of the car and swim to shore.