What to do with the car if it drowned?

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Most vehicles moving on public roads are not designed for a prolonged stay in a humid environment. Moreover, cars are not designed to be completely or partially submerged in water. If such a nuisance occurs, the owner will face many unpleasant consequences. In this article, we will consider the consequences of a car being in the water for a long time, and also find out if it makes sense to restore it after flooding and how to do it. However, if you have a drowned car that you want to get rid of, we buy junk cars without a title in Akron and other American cities.

What suffers in a car when drowned

Intuitively, a car and water are not the best neighbors, although, in the manufacture of modern vehicles, experts try to do everything possible to ensure that cars remain resistant to rain or snow. The car is not airtight, so when it is even partially in the water, moisture begins to penetrate into all technical holes and gaps, spread through the internal cavities, and accumulate in materials that can absorb it.

Almost all elements of the car fall into the risk group, but they suffer from this in different ways.

Body panels, metal parts, and fasteners

For them, the main problem of flooding is corrosion. This process breaks the chemical bonds in the material, causing it to gradually break down.

The main danger is that from the outside the body may look untouched thanks to the “shell” of the paintwork, which isolates the metal from direct contact with an aggressive environment. But the internal cavities of parts do not have such a protective barrier. Water that has got there in large quantities will inevitably lead to the formation of rust pockets and their growth. This whole process will be hidden from view, so it is quite difficult to take action in time and even just assess the degree of damage.

The intensity of damage directly depends on the composition of the water. The more salt it contains, the faster the electrochemical processes will go, and, accordingly, the corrosion. It turns out that being in the rain or river water will inevitably lead to metal degradation, but rust and oxides will not appear as quickly as from seawater.

Car interior

It is unlikely that at least one car sank in clean distilled water. Therefore, the first thing that catches your eye after the water has been inside will be dirt, silt, and sand. They can be eliminated through routine interior cleaning. But salt water, when dried, leaves specific light stains on the materials, which are difficult to get rid of.

But there is also a problem that is not so obvious: the carpet on the floor, the upholstery of the seats and their filler, the ceiling, the steering wheel braid, and everything that can absorb water are damaged. This creates a humid environment in which mold grows quite quickly. Car electrical.

In modern cars, a huge number of electronic systems with control units that interact through wiring with connectors. But even in older models, you can’t get away from the wires – the difference is only in their length and the number of contact groups. Conductive elements in connectors and boards are made of various metals, which, like the body, are susceptible to water. They have mediocre protection against the ingress of liquids, which allows drivers to drive without problems in the rain and even overcome small fords, but in the event of flooding, it will be powerless.

Water entering the connectors will cause oxidation of the contacts. As a result, the resistance in the electrical circuit will increase, the current will stop flowing to the electronic module, and the system will fail. In addition to the connectors themselves, the boards also suffer. Transistors, capacitors, microcircuits, resistors, and other parts can also be covered with oxides. In this case, they will fail, and in the worst-case scenario, the conductive parts will close, which is fraught with serious damage to the electrical network or even fire. Sea water is especially harmful to electronics because salt is an excellent electrical conductor that disrupts the operation of the entire system.

Power units

The ingress of water into the engine and gearbox suggests quite serious consequences. The most harmless of them is the formation of an emulsion, a mixture of water and oil. In this case, the units will not be properly lubricated, and this, in turn, can lead to overheating and critical wear.

In addition to problems with oil, there is a threat directly to the units themselves. If water enters the cylinders, the engine is at risk of hydraulic shock during start-up. Its consequence can be both a slight deformation of the connecting rod and engine jamming.

And don’t forget about corrosion. It can start both in the engine and in the gearbox. These units will not break down as quickly as the body, because the oil is a fairly good inhibitor, but it can only slow down the spread of rust.

Can a drowned car be restored?

Restoring a drowned car is a rather time-consuming and very costly process. Literally, every element will require attention and investment.

  1. Body and metal parts. To prevent the occurrence of corrosion and to localize existing damages, the car will have to be almost completely disassembled, dried, and carefully treated with special compounds that prevent further destruction of the metal.
  2. Salon. It will have to be completely disassembled, dried thoroughly, and cleaned of stains. To do this, you will need not only to pull out the seats but also to remove the covers from them, as well as the airbags. The same must be done with all the trim and even soundproofing.
  3. Car electrical. On a drowned car, it is better to replace all the wiring with a new one – otherwise, malfunctions caused by spontaneous disappearance and the appearance of contact are inevitable. But one replacement may not be enough. You will have to carefully monitor the state of the mating part of the connectors on the control units and do not neglect periodic computer diagnostics.
  4. Power units. Here it is necessary to dry the oil pan, all elements of the ignition system, as well as the cylinder block and pistons themselves, rinse the pipes and radiators from dirt, and then change the oil in the internal combustion engine and transmission fluid, and install new filters.


Restoring a drowned car is a process that requires a lot of investment, but you should not hope that all problems can be fixed. If you do not plan to restore your drowned car, JunkCarUs will help you get rid of it quickly and without problems. The company provides its services throughout the USA, except for Alaska and Puerto Rico.