FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The flooding caused by the recent storms has left some people in the unknown waters of what to do if their vehicles may have taken flood damage, especially in the Merced area.

If floodwaters partially or fully submerge a vehicle, it could potentially mean extensive damage and costly repairs. In the case of this unfortunate event, State Farm has a list of things you need to do.

First, the advice is to survey the potential damage. Note the depth of the floodwaters in relation to the vehicle. Be sure not to start a flooded vehicle as it is possible it could cause more damage if water got into the engine.

Acting quickly to this event could be vital to the life of your vehicle as there is a chance of corrosion. Start drying your vehicle as soon as possible and contact a towing service to get it back to higher ground. Oil, transmission fluid, and lube may need draining. At the same time be sure to file a claim with your insurance company – and possibly reach out to a mechanic to see how extensive the damage may be.

Some of the things that will need to be checked include:

  • The oil dipstick – Specifically looking for water droplets which may mean you have water in your engine.
  • Removing Water-damaged Cylinders – Remove Water-damaged cylinders and check for corroded spots.
  • The fluids – Change out the oil and transmission fluids
  • The interior – Water could have made it inside the vehicle.
  • Moisture inside – Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove any standing water and towels to absorb water from areas, as well as fans and humidifiers to help it dry quicker.
  • Electronic components – Electronics will need to be checked as the water could have affected them
  • Fuel tank and line – Water may be present in the fuel tank, if so it would need to be emptied.

Flooded cars can face a variety of issues if the appropriate actions are not taken, according to Progressive. This could include bad smells, discolored interiors, rust, odd noises, engine smoke, and electronic damage. Depending on the damage the vehicle could be declared a total loss.