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USjunkCars Blog

Have Engine Problems from the Rain? Check the 6 Signs of Water Damage

Are you struggling with engine problems caused by the rain? 

Do you find it difficult to navigate the slippery roads and feel frustrated that your car is constantly drenched when you’re driving in the rainy season? 

It’s a real pain, especially if you’re driving in the rain wrong. You’re probably even stuck with a wet engine right now and don’t know what to do. 

Don’t worry, you can still undo the damage! We’ll help you figure out how to fix your engine so it can be up and running again.

How to Check for Potential Engine Damage from the Rain

Before anything else, turn off the engine. You shouldn’t try starting the engine until you have examined how much damage the rain has actually done. These are the ways you can measure the damage:

Listen for any unusual noises from your car

This can signal that some parts of your engine aren’t working properly. You may have to consult an automotive technician once you have located where the sound is coming from.

Check if your engine is hydrolocked

When the water enters the combustion chamber, this tends to harm the piston and the connecting rod. Ultimately, this will destroy your engine.

See how high the dirty water line has reached

If the line has stopped below the doors, your engine is safe. If the level of water is up to the oil pan, you’ll have to dry the underside. After drying it for hours, you can test the engine again. 

Now, if the line goes above the rim, it’s possible that not only was your engine immersed in water, but other electronic systems were soaked too.

If the water line is found above the hood, this spells trouble. Water has basically sneaked into every part, from the intake manifold to the oil pan.

engine problems

Spot the 6 Warning Signs of Water Damage

Here are the signs to detect if there’s water damage:

  1. Wet air filter and intake. This is a major sign that water has gotten through.
  2. Diluted or milky oil. Use a dipstick to check the oil. You can tell that the water has accessed the crankcase if the color of the oil is washed out, milky, or has turned beige. Another sign is that the oil won’t stick to the dipstick tube or if the oil has risen above the full line. While the rear main seal was built to retain the oil, it can’t prevent the entry of floodwater.
  3. Other fluids are also washed out or have changed their colors. You can try inspecting the power steering, coolant, and fuel system. To do this, you must drain the fuel and place it on a pan. When you’ve confirmed that the fuel has mixed with water, you must drain the fuel line, fuel tank, and fuel filters.          
  4. Exterior lights contain water. Change any headlights or bulbs that are moist from the rainwater.
  5. Dirt in bumpers, frame, undercarriage, and radiator area. If your car has been submerged in a flood, dirt can cling to your car if it goes unchecked. Search these areas to see if there’s any debris, grass, mud, or other kinds of dirt that the water may have brought in.     
  6. Combustion chamber holds water. Scan the cylinders with an inspection camera. It’s okay if the lining of the cylinder is damp. What you’ll have to watch out for though is if the combustion chamber contains water.

How to Fix Your Wet Engine 

After thoroughly checking if your engine has suffered from water damage, it’s time to get rid of the water. Here’s a guide on how to fix your wet engine:

  • Detach your car battery and its cables and leave them to dry. Take off the plastic engine covers and use a shop towel to dry off your car. 
  • Take out the spark plugs and hand-crank the engine. You also have to keep turning the crank in the piston. Only stop when it’s able to reach its full height in the cylinder to make it easier to access the water with your towels and shop vacs. A good shop vac will be handy to have around because it won’t leave any traces of paper towels after it has gone through the plug holes and removed the water. 
  • Detach fuel injectors and crank your engine over. Your starter will most likely have just the right amount of torque to keep water out with a few turns. 
  • Check the fuse box. Don’t forget to purchase a pack of fuses so you can immediately change them if they also had been exposed to water. 
  • Make sure to monitor your intake ducting and air filter. You may have to purchase a new air filter and a carb cleaner. It’s worse if seawater actually entered or if the water is badly contaminated. This might call for a carb rebuild. 
  • Have a look at your transmission. It’s more vulnerable to water damage than your engine. Just because it’s airtight, doesn’t mean it can be submerged in water without getting ruined. You have to be careful with the transmission even if it looks okay since it holds several small parts. Change the fluid, drop the pan, and observe closely if anything weird still happens.
  • Check if your axle differential was immersed in the water too. Its vent may have allowed the water to get in and dilute the oil. Remove the fluid by taking away the cover or the drain bolt. It’s also a good idea to use a fluid pump to take the water out. Then, use the right gear oil and additives for your car.   

When All Else Fails, Sell Your Junk Car 

If your engine still doesn’t work and your local mechanic can’t repair it anymore, it might be time to let your car go. 

It doesn’t have to be all bad though. Like everyone says, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

You can turn your junk car into cash by selling it to USJunkCars today! We buy cars regardless of the condition.