Oklahoma City, OK (August 15, 2018) - Several inches of rain and flooding made for a busy night for AAA tow trucks in the Oklahoma City metro area, and will present an even heavier call volume throughout today.
AAA Oklahoma roadside assistance crews responded to more than 318 calls for service Tuesday, more than double the number of calls from the same day in 2016. Today's call volume is up significantly over yesterday, with AAA tow trucks continuing to respond to stranded vehicles in the metro. Each tow truck driver has multiple service calls in queue.
"In some cases, vehicles were parked in areas that flooded while the driver was away, but other cases involved drivers who thought they could drive through floodwaters and learned the hard way that they should have turned around," said Leslie Gamble, Public and Government Affairs manager for AAA Oklahoma. "The weather forecast is calling for more rain this week. AAA urges all motorists to avoid flooded roadways and to never try to drive through standing water, no matter how shallow it appears. Bottom line, turn around, don't drown."
Depending on the vehicle year, make and model, the cost of repairing flood damage can easily exceed a car’s value. When dealing with an automobile that has been in a flood, the first step should be to contact your insurance company (provided you have comprehensive coverage) for help in determining the best course of action.
Once floodwaters rise above the vehicle door openings, extensive disassembly may be required for cleaning. To avoid causing additional problems, never attempt to start a flood-damaged car until a thorough vehicle inspection has been performed by a qualified technician.
In addition to the obvious damage it does to upholstery and carpeting, floodwater is a corrosive and abrasive mixture of water and dirt that works its way into every seam and crevice of a vehicle. Sewage and chemical contaminants may also be present in floodwater. Even if a car is mechanically safe to drive, sanitary concerns could make it unwise for you to do so.
What to Look For
An automotive technician should examine the engine, transmission and drivetrain after flooding, along with the fuel, brake and power steering systems. Unless contaminants are completely removed from these important components, increased wear and premature failure can result.
The electrical systems in modern cars are particularly prone to flood water damage. Engine control computers, vehicle sensors, infotainment systems, and other electronic devices – along with wiring harnesses and the many connectors that join them together – can be very difficult to salvage. Unless every part is thoroughly cleaned and dried, inside and out, problems caused by corrosion can crop up weeks or even months after the flooding.
Many parts of a car are challenging to clean and dry because they are hard to access. Door locks, window regulators, power seat motors, heating and air conditioning components, and many small parts are tucked away in enclosed areas or up under the dash. These items may work okay immediately following a flood, only to fail later due to contamination by dirty water.
Never attempt to start a flood-damaged vehicle until a thorough inspection has been performed by a qualified technician. Your first step should be to contact your insurance company (provided you have comprehensive coverage) for help in determining the best course of action.
AAA Tips on Auto Insurance Claims:
- Physical damage to a car caused by flooding is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy.
- Car owners should contact their insurance company to determine the extent of coverage before seeking repairs.
- Take photographs of any visible damage.
- Any vehicle sustaining flood damage should be fully inspected before being allowed back on the road. Mechanical components, computer systems, engine, transmission, axles, brake system and fuel system impacted by water contamination may render the vehicle unfit to drive and in many cases vehicles sustaining significant water damage will be determined to be a total loss.