Car Care: Driving Through Water Logged Roads

  • Aug 08, 2017

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Speeding your car through a puddle of water might bring back memories from your bicycle days, but it comes with the risk of causing serious damage to your car. Collected water on the road needs to be treated with respect, especially keeping in mind that we don’t know what’s lurking underneath it. For all you know, there could be a deep pothole or even an open manhole. Driving through such surprises can damage the radiator, mud flaps or worse the engine. It is best to stay in the centre lane, as water tends to pool on the outer lanes.

If the water is deep enough to submerge your exhaust pipe, consider taking an alternative route. Attempting to wade through deep water can ruin the electrical systems. In such situations, gauge the level of the water against dividers, trees, pavements or other vehicles before going ahead.

In the event you do have to drive through flooded streets, what should you do? To begin with do not panic. Keep your foot on the gas, and continue driving slowly, maintaining a constant speed. As you drive through the water, advance with a steady throttle, even when you need to shift gears and regulate your speed with the clutch, or else water could enter the exhaust.


Most modern cars’ air intakes are low down at the front, and speeding your car over puddles can cause hydrostatic lock as water enters the engine causing it to seize. Mind you, many insurance companies don't cover such damages, and the cost to repair could easily run in lakhs. As fun as it may be, resist the temptation to ploughing through flooded roads unless you have a purpose-built off-roader designed to displace large quantities of water. In case you car stalls in deep water, do not attempt to restart if you notice that the water level may have at some point gone above the air intake. In the interim, call for someone who can have another vehicle tow you out with a rope or a cable winch.

Although these tips should help you tackle waterlogged roads, it is always best to take a detour if you're unsure.


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