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Street Flooding: Dangerous to Health and Pocketbook

When you’re stuck on the road in heavy rain, most people just want to get home. But deciding to cross a flooded intersection could not only be dangerous for you, it could also cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your car. Bill Stamps has more.


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We’ve all seen the video on television news stations of people trying to drive down a flooded street or intersection, not really knowing how deep the water is. Many times the car stalls and the driver is forced to get out and wait for the water to recede. What you don’t see on the news is the $4-thousand dollars it might cost that driver to get a new engine. Mechanic Chris Lambros explains why they can’t simply fix the old one.

“If it stalls out, water sits there and after the water recedes there’s water still inside the motor. By the time you get the motor torn apart you got rust you have to fight with. And the rust is going to be even harder to get out than the water will be.”

So what exactly causes a car to stall, and how do you know if the water is high enough to cause your vehicle to stop?

“Somehow water is getting inside that motor. And that’s what usually happens, it locks up the motor. When the water goes over the hood of the car the motor will suck in the water through the intake and what happens is it gets inside the motor and it’ll lock up the motor because you can’t compress a liquid.”

That may not help the average motorist who may not know what an intake is let alone know where it is. And it’s in a different spot on each car.

“It just depends on the make and model of the car. Some of the air intakes where it takes in the air is down by the lower bumper. Some of them are up by the grill. Some of them are by the hood. My recommendation is if you can’t see the ground, don’t go through it.”

But that’s exactly what some people do each time there’s a heavy downpour and streets begin to flood. Lambros says when it comes to water, looks can definitely be deceiving.

“The rule of thumb is if you can’t see the lanes and you can’t see the reflectors because of the water, don’t go through it. Because you don’t know how deep its going to be. You can go in and then it starts rushing in over the hood.”

Should you make the wrong decision Lambros and other mechanics won’t say I told you so, but they will take your credit card when it’s time for you pay for that new motor. Bill Stamps, KUHF News.

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