Recent flash floods throughout the Phoenix metro area in September, especially Mesa, have provided Auto Repair Mesa professionals with some unique issues to address in our bays.
The Valley of the Sun has never exactly earned national notoriety for being annually doused with heavy storms such as those recently plaguing Chesapeake, Va., but those of us accustomed to the unique weather patterns of the desert know that Phoenix indeed sees yearly fast, fleeting onslaughts or rain rather than drawn-out downpours as summer transitions into fall. Auto Repair Mesa experts fear that driving amidst the flash floods following his year’s particularly voluminous monsoons may have damaged many Phoenix vehicles internally more than their owners would suppose.
When driving through flooded streets, water has a chance to infiltrate a vehicle’s engine compartment and a number of floorboard-based systems and components. In the engine, oil pressure can plummet dangerously and cause an engine to burn up in short order when water mixes with oil. Meanwhile, water above a vehicle’s floorboards can cascade through door crevices and short out a complex networks of onboard computers and wiring.
Masses of standing water no higher than six inches have been known to stall engines, no matter how harmless they may appear to the naked eye. Cars have been floated away in as little as a foot of running water and it takes a mere two feet to overpower many SUVs and pickup trucks. If you can’t see the painted markings, the water is too high to navigate entirely safely.
Above all, there’s one sure way to minimize your vehicle’s risk of significant water damage: don’t drive in it. Severe engine damage can render an automobile a total insurance loss. If exposed to heavy rains and flooding such as what Mesa experienced in September, your vehicle should undergo a thorough Auto Repair Mesa technician’s checkup before further extensive driving.
If you must drive down a flooded road, monitor how the conditions impact vehicles around you, watch out for downed power lines, and always slow your speed to a safe crawl. In deep enough water, neither you nor drivers around you can tell what debris has been washed into the road and submerged or what the exact lay of the road is beneath the surface.