Your Corner Wrench: How much water is too much?

first_imgTrending in Canada Your Corner Wrench: Driving through troubled watersIf you get caught in a low-water scenario (and it doesn’t have to be a flood; leaving a window or sunroof open can lead to the same results), immediately disconnect one of the battery cables and get out the shop-vac. After removing as much water as the vacuum will suck up, lay down some non-coloured absorbent material such as some old towels or such. Getting the top of the carpet dry is only half the battle; there’s usually a thick material underlay that will hold a lot of moisture and can cause some unbearable smells if not taken care of. Remove the door sill guards at the bottoms of the door frames to access the carpeting. Carefully lift up both sides high enough to slide a few bricks or pieces of wood to keep the carpet and underlay off the floor and to allow air to circulate to help dry things out. This may take more than a day. A portable heater-fan can quicken the process, but be sure to set it at a safe distance to avoid melting any plastics or wire coating. Floods are devastating, and we’ve all cringed at news photos and videos of water-ravaged homes and properties. But while most of us are aware of the damage that can be caused when a basement or lower house level is flooded, not as many know of the consequences too much water can bring to our vehicles.Many drivers would be surprised to know that if a modern vehicle is submerged for any time under water, the insurance company that covers it will declare it to be a total loss. But why? Aren’t vehicles designed to operate in wet conditions? After all, if you dry things out and clean up the muck, won’t everything still work? If it wasn’t for all the electronics in today’s vehicles, that might be the case.The average vehicle (even entry-level subcompacts) can contain six or more computers, not to mention various electronic modules. These are connected to a live electrical wiring system powered by the battery. When water reaches any of these components or the wiring to them, they can short out. Some contain non-serviceable fuses which will quickly pop, rendering the component inoperative. While some modules or computers don’t have power going to them when the ignition is off, many have a constant low-voltage supply to maintain memory and programming. If you add up the replacement values for these modules/computers, you can easily approach the write-off limit for most vehicles of moderate value. Add to this the uncertainty of costly related electrical problems that may occur down the road, and it’s no surprise that insurance companies quickly act to control their payouts. This is why most jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada have regulations prohibiting the resale of flood-damaged vehicles even if they’ve been “repaired.” Trending Videos advertisement When everything is dry, reconnect the battery, start up the vehicle and run every electrical feature to check their operation. If you get any warning lights or a new electrical glitch appears, it may be time to contact your insurance company. 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Many carmakers will waterproof their electrical harnesses with rubber seals on all the connectors but usually only for those outside the passenger cabin; this is why we don’t have to be concerned with driving on wet roads. Inside the vehicle is a different story. Few harness connectors under the dash, seats or floor covering have such protection. Many carmakers run wiring under the floor coverings, and a few even locate modules/computers there. So if you’ve got water lying on the floor at any depth at all, your vehicle is at risk.RELATED See More Videos We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles using Facebook commenting Visit our FAQ page for more information. COMMENTSSHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ‹ Previous Next › Buy It! Princess Diana’s humble little 1981 Ford Escort is up for auction An engagement gift from Prince Charles, the car is being sold by a Princess Di “superfan” RELATED TAGSSafety and MaintenanceMaintenanceNew VehiclesCanadaUnited Stateslast_img

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