APOPKA, Fla. - Hurricane Ian damaged cars, along with Florida homes and businesses. Mechanic Steve Alfieri, from Russell Automotive, said water and cars don't mix. "It can be catastrophic or it can be minimal. The biggest problem is if the front of the car goes in too deep it can suck water into the intake."
Alfieri said sooner or later, water can destroy an engine. "In this case, that car does have that problem. Water went in, got ingested into the engine, it destroyed the engine, so that's pretty obvious, this engine's finished."
Alfieri said engines have lots of trouble when water gets in. "You see the air filter has collapsed, it basically sucked itself in because it got full of water. When it does that most times this will have standing water in it."
Alfieri said the interiors are also a weak spot when it comes to moisture problems. "They're sealed from dust. That's about it. Even seat motors and tracks, anything moveable electronic on the floorboard can get damaged from water. It's not designed to be in water in any way."
When it comes to water damage, drivers may not be aware of just how many vulnerable parts there are right under their seats. "They're right on the floor. If they get submerged they can work perfectly fine at first. Over time those connections corrode. You'll start getting problems with check engine lights, anti-lock brake lights, SRS lights, which is a safety issue," said Alfieri.
Alfieri said mold can also grow there. "So you can feel this, and it feels fine, but when you lift it up if this padding is wet you'll never know it."
Overall, Alfieri said if you think your car has water damage, get it checked out. "It's a good thing to just come in, have us check it out, make sure there is no water damage. Let us know how deep the water was, that's a big thing, too."