Fargo’s Spring Flood and How it Affects Your Vehicle

Fargo’s flood season has arrived, meaning that temperatures and the Red River will both begin to rise and the huge snow piles in parking lots will begin to melt. When driving in these conditions you will want to be on the lookout for the all of the water on the road and take your car in if you think any of the water has caused damage. For more information on what can happen to a car when it goes through water and what you can do to get your car back on the road, see below:

What can happen

Engine damage - Driving through deep, standing water can cause a car’s engine to fail. This is because a modern car’s air intakes tend to be fairly low down and at the front of the car. If water is sucked up into the engine it can cause the engine to seize. The technical term for this damage is called ‘hydrostatic lock’, which is when water enters an engine cylinder and locks the engine piston in place during the compression stroke.  Hydrostatic lock may consist of bent or broken connecting rods, a fractured head, a fractured block, crankcase damage, damaged bearings or any combination of these. Basically a hydrostatic lock, and all of the complications that come along with it, can be very damaging to a car’s overall performance.

Fuel damage – If water seeps into the overflow valve of the gas tank, the interior of the tank may rust to the point of wearing a hole in it, increasing the amount of fuel particulate clogging the carburetor/fuel injectors and combustion cylinders. This problem can easily go by unnoticed so make sure to ask your provider to check your fuel tank.

Contaminated Fluids - If water gets into a car’s oil, transmission fluid, or gearbox fluids it can contaminate the fluid resulting in the lubrication not working properly and potentially damaging your vehicle.  For example, when water gets into the transmission fluid, you have a very small window to get it out before the water will cause permanent damage to your transmission. In fact, if you have started the car’s engine since the water got in the transmission fluid, the water will have been pulled into your transmission. It can then cause rust, buildup, adhesive loss on the clutch, expanding, dangerous vapor and the need for the transmission to be rebuilt.  You will want to replace any fluids contaminated with water as soon as possible.

If you do drive through water

If there are no other routes for you to take and you must go through water, drive cautiously because even the splash of a smaller puddle can reach the air intake and get into the engine. If your vehicle stalls in the deep water, you may need to restart the engine. If you can't restart your vehicle and the water is deep, abandon your car and head to higher ground. Call for help if you have trouble getting out of your car.

If you do drive through water, Jiffy Lube can help get you back on the road safely so you can help fight this spring’s flood. Check out the quality@JiffyLubeFargo, fluid exchange and fuel system services that we provide at all of our Fargo service centers.


Image courtesy of moonlightbulb/Flickr.