12 things to do before your car sinks in deep waters

by Steven Yu October 02, 2009

The Philippines has been placed under a state of calamity because of the approaching typhoon Pepeng (international codename Parma) but this does not mean your car should meet the same fate many vehicles did during last weekend’s heavy flooding.

While others hoard canned goods and bottled water, take some time out to pick up some basic tools and a pair of jack stands, and take a crash course on basic mechanical skills to prepare your car for wet and wild weather conditions. Working quickly from the ground up, you can:

1. Raise the portion of your vehicle where the engine is, and support it on jack stands. This may gain you enough height to raise the air intake level above the water line. DO NOT support your car with concrete hollow blocks, these can disintegrate unpredictably.

2. Wrap your exhaust pipe with two to three grocery bags, fold the creases neatly and secure with several rubber bands to prevent water from entering the cylinders via the exhaust system.

3. Set the parking brake and put the transmission in Park or in first gear. This way, if your car floats off and settles on a slope, it won’t roll and cause damage or injury.

4. If your car is parked near sturdy permanent structures, tie your vehicle down to them using half-inch-or-larger, bright-colored nylon cord. Secure as many corners as possible, using your vehicle’s towing hooks as attachment points. This will prevent your vehicle from floating around and incurring or causing more damage.

5. Close all your windows and the air conditioner’s outside air vent. This will prevent larger debris and water-borne contaminants from entering the cabin.

6. Disconnect your battery. Remove both, not just one polarity. If possible, bring the battery to a higher place but do not lay it on concrete to prevent discharging.

7. Remove as many possible seats from the vehicle and relocate them to a higher location. Be sure to put the bolts back into their holes in the floor to prevent early water intrusion (if applicable).

8. If you have access to your throttle body, separate the air intake hose from it, enclose it in two layers of plastic grocery bags, and then reinstall and tighten the intake hose. This will prevent water from entering the intake manifold and cylinders.

9. If you cannot access your throttle body, seal the air intake hose at the first accessible point. Seal aftermarket breathers with plastic bags and electric tape.

10. If your car has a distributor, label the high-tension wires and disconnect them from the cap. Seal the vacuum hoses. Then wrap the distributor with a few plastic bags and secure tightly with electric tape.

11. If you know where your ECU is, remove it and seal it in two Ziploc bags. It may be wise to keep it inside the car if your house is prone to flooding.

12. Lock your vehicle and keep the keys in a secure area. If you own a watertight safe, seal the keys in a Ziploc bag, remove all the air and place it inside the safe.


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