How driving through water affects your car

car through waterMost cars aren’t built for water activities. Even three to five-inch puddles can cause mechanical problems under the hood of your car.

When possible, it’s best to avoid deep puddles, or at least drive slowly through them, to prevent water from splashing into the upper part of the vehicle. But, if you are unlucky enough to stall in water, chances are, one of the following 4 things will happen …

1. You will Wet your Spark Plugs

When you drive through a puddle, the spark plugs can become wet and will not fire. Wet spark plugs cause a short between the water and the plug and therefore cutting the power to your engine.

2. There is Water in the Fuel System

If water gets into the air intake system of your car and enters the fuel system, it can alter the air/fuel ratio and lessen engine power. This situation is also known as hydrolock and can cause the engine to stall.

If the water in the combustion chamber is in small amounts, it is often eliminated by engine heat. Keep in mind that this situation can also cause an electrical short in the spark plugs, as mentioned above.

3. Your Car Has a Damaged Connection Rod

Since water doesn’t easily compress, it overloads the connection rod. After hitting the accelerator, you’ll hear a clunking sound, since the piston can’t compress the water. The connection rod can be knocked out or deformed. This typically results in engine damage and may even destroy the engine entirely. So, stay clear of deep water!

4. Your Car Has a Cracked Catalytic Converter

Driving through deep puddles can cause a cracked catalytic converter. This device operates at high temperatures and is part of the exhaust system. When it comes in contact with cold water, rapid contraction can crack its sides and potentially cause the vehicle to stall. It’s a very expensive component to replace!

So, what do you do, when your car stalls in water?

When a car stalls in water, just remember, the first thing is to stay calm and stay safe. If you’re handy and have the right tools, you may be able to re-start the car depending on the problem. Wet spark plugs can be removed, and water in the cylinders can be removed. After that, just re-install the spark plugs.

Another option is to push the car out of the puddle to dry ground and wait for the electrical systems to dry out. If that doesn’t work, you’ll probably have to call a tow truck. It’s a hassle, but one that comes along with rainy days.

If the engine damage is due to water compression, you can attempt to pump oil to achieve some compression. However, severe engine damage will likely require the expertise of a mechanic.

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