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Flooded Roads May Lead To Costly Auto Repairs

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SUV stranded in flood waters in a Doral parking lot. (CBS4)

SUV stranded in flood waters in a Doral parking lot. (CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Some drivers in Doral and Hialeah may learn an important, and expensive lesson, in the next couple of weeks.

After Tuesday and Wednesday’s torrential rains, many got stuck on flooded streets thinking they could make it.

They thought wrong.

The key to avoid getting stuck is not to drive through deep water in the first place or allow it to get up to the level of your engine.

If, however, you get stuck in deep water and stall out, don’t try to restart the engine without first getting it checked out by a mechanic or you could make the situation even worse.

“When the level of water gets above the air filter it gets sucked up and does what’s called a hydrolock to the engine. It’s pretty bad, costing up in the thousands (to repair),” .said Chris Barres of Maroone Chevrolet.

If you were one of those people got stuck on a flooded road, you could soon be facing big bucks to get back in the drivers’ seat and get your engine running normally again.

That’s because newer cars and trucks are increasingly dependent on electronics and circuit boards to make them run better and get better fuel mileage. But it turns out water and circuit boards don’t mix. The newer the vehicle, the more prone it is to water damage.

So what can you do to minimize damage and not be hit with even higher repair bills?

If you drove through high water and the engine stalled out, don’t restart it. Have it towed to a garage to be checked out by a competent mechanic.

If you’re lucky, you may just need to have the spark plugs changed, replace all the filters and operating fluids that may have been contaminated by high water.

If the engine was “hydrolocked”, sucked up a lot of water and kept running before finally stopping, it may have suffered serious internal damage.

Luckily, most water related problems can be fixed for just a few hundred bucks.

“Those repairs can cost $300-$500 opposed to an entire engine that can cost $6000-$8000,” said Barres.

Water damage is not covered by most new car warranties. But it may be covered under your car insurance policy.

If you think your car’s engine may be seriously damaged and require extensive repairs, contact your insurance agent before having any work done and save all your towing or garage bills which may also be covered by your insurance.

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