No matter what season it is now, if you live in St. Louis we all know it is cold one day, hot the next and if it isn’t leaves, it is flowers or gumballs – always something falling on your vehicle. I wanted to touch base with you on a problem we see that can damage vehicles that no one really spends much time thinking about.
All of our vehicles are designed with paths for the water from rain to flow from the top of your car, through the gaps and down, to the bottom of your car. These gaps are specially designed to do this and they are very important in keeping your engine and all the very costly electronics from getting soaked every time it rains! So look at your trunk next time you walk by your car and look where water would go if it goes in the gap at the front of the trunk lid and you will see a channel that guides the water down each side of the trunk opening and out the bottom usually around the tail lights. Is there debris there? Sometimes we find a small collection of leaves, or blooms from your trees, or even pine needles. If the answer is yes, take a minute and remove the leaf and tree dropping sludge before it clogs the pathway and backs up into your trunk.
There are also drains under your hood that direct the water that come down the windshield through some plastic screens and usually out the lower front fender. These screens we usually see clogged up especially in the fall when the leaves are coming down but also in the spring and summer when we see other debris falling from trees or animals that live in the trees above our vehicles.
Here at Jammin’ J Auto we see this more often than you would think. Sometimes it is a small issue that can be cleaned out, and the things that have gotten wet can just be dried out and all is well. But, we do see some costly repairs that have resulted from these situations.
So here is an example that came in to us a while back:
A Mercedes Benz was towed in because it wouldn’t start. After some information gathering and inspection, we discovered there was water pooling in the rear seat floorboards. The vehicle had been parked in a driveway on an incline with the front of the car uphill. The drains along the windshield and under the hood were clogged badly with leaves and the water had backed up and entered the car behind the glove box and ran down the passenger side floor. As it rained all night long, and the water continued to come in, it created a puddle under the rear seat on the passenger side. This model of Mercedes just so happened to have all of its hi tech electronics under the rear seat on the passenger side and they were sitting in 6 inches of water.
Once the electronics of this or any vehicle have been exposed to that much water for an extended period of time, there is no way to know the full extent of damage to connected modules or fuses, etc and the insurance adjuster declared this vehicle totaled as a flood car. Once water enters electronics the car will never be the same.
So take a few minutes and clean the debris from your hood and trunk.