Driving through deep water can stall your vehicle's engine - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Driving through deep water can stall your vehicle's engine


Sunday's inch and a quarter of rain may not sound like much, but when it falls in a short window of time, it means puddles the size of parking lots, several inches deep.

And when flooding like this expands into the roadway, you want to do your best to avoid it, the water can cause major damage to your vehicle.

At Haas Towing, calls started coming in at 10 a.m. for cars stranded in water.  "So we've done 6 or 7 of them so far because of the downpour," says Dale Posey.   

Dale explains, in most cars, the opening for the air intake system sits just off the ground. If you drive through a puddle that reaches that level, you run the risk of taking on water.

"It's a vacuum, the water gets sucked up into the air box and into the carburetor and it'll shut the engine down," he says.  

Getting your car running again could mean a tow and hundreds of dollars in repairs.  "You can mess up internal parts, fuel injectors, carburetors, stuff like that," says Dale.

Some cars can even need total engine replacement. But sometimes, the damage is delayed. "It could be a period of time before any effects are caused because of the corrosion, so it could be a month or a couple months before you could actually notice something."

Dale's advice: "Go around if you can, it only takes a little bit of water to leave you dead in the road."

In addition to your engine taking on water, many cars will start to float in as little as a foot of standing water, and two feet will sweep away a vehicle.

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