Drove Through Water And Car Won’t Start: What To Do?

If you own a vehicle, it cannot be avoided that you will face many different challenges on the road. You might have a flat tire; your engine might turn down; you might have a drained battery, or many other things. In many areas, there is also the possibility of flooded roads.

There is also the chance of having flash floods or persistent rain that can cause road flooding. Vehicles are not produced and made to go for a swim or be submerged in deep water. This is why, as a car driver, you should avoid driving in flooded areas.

 Flooded areas are dangerous and can cause damage to your vehicle. If you drive deep water, you must have your vehicle checked afterward. Many car drivers experience the same issues. 

They have driven through water, and then their vehicle will not start. With that, this article is made for you. In this article, we will be talking about vehicles that will not start anymore if they drive through water. 

There are plenty of car drivers stuck in this situation, so that is why we have made this article. If you also want to know what you have to do if this happens to you, this article is also the one. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Drove Through Water And Car Won't Start

Will My Car Start After Driving Through The Water?

Driving through water is dangerous. This is most especially if you are flowing over the road. Your vehicle can be swept away, and it can cause damages too. 

You also have no idea what is at the bottom of the road if it is flooded. Generally speaking, do not drive through water if the water level is the tire’s height. If you are not sure about the depth, do not be the first to have the plunge. 

You can observe the vehicles. If you choose to drive through the water, drive it slowly and then steadily. If you drive through flooded roads, it can cause damage to your vehicle. 

The best thing to do is a diversion road. If you have driven through the water and your engine stalls, you will have to restart your engine. 

This can do some severe damage to your vehicle. Water can cause havoc to the components of your vehicle. 

Not all vehicles will not start after driving through water. Some vehicles can survive deep water. However, some vehicles will not survive the water. 

What Do You Do If Your Car Won’t Start After Driving Through The Water?

If you have driven through the water and your vehicle will not start, you have to check the interiors. The water will enter the cabin and damage the interior of your vehicle. You have to check your carper and the components of the floor level if it is damp. 

If it is, your vehicle will need professional help. If you allow your vehicle to be dried enough, it is due to the risk of mildew growth. It can mold and will result in foul odors and unhealthy air quality. 

Check the fluids and then rule out contamination. Driving through water can enter your engine compartment and contaminate your fluids like your engine oil, transmission oil, and differential fluid. Take out the dipstick and check for the condition of the fluids. 

There is contamination if the fluids are diluted, mily, or discolored. For contamination, have your vehicle checked by an expert. A vehicle with a contaminated fluid can cause damage to the engine. 

You then have to check the air filter. If the air filter is wet or has signs of dampness, it can be replaced. You might need an engine oil replacement. 

Check also for the underside of the vehicle. There are possibilities of grass, mud, and debris under the bottom of your vehicle. You must check the engine compartment, undercarriage, bumpers, and compartment. 

Have your brakes and suspension joints checked. Water and dirt can go into the components of the brake and can prevent optimum performance. Have your lights checked too. 

Check the external lights and indicators for water damage. The damaged components will need replacement if they cannot be repaired or cleaned. 

How To Start A Car After Driving Through Water?

If it is stalled because it has been drowned by deep water, do not restart it. You can get it towed away. You also have to take the stuff apart and then clean it. 

Remove the water and debris that have been sucked into the engine. You can get lucky by just having the ignition system to be wet. If you are unlucky, you can have the engine sucked water. Hydrolocking an engine can do severe damage. 

Do not start your engine if there is water in your cylinder. You have to remove the spark plug first.

Can Driving Through Water Damage Your Starter?

Water can cause damage to your starter. But if it happens all the time, you have to check the connections and the cables. The standard way that water causes damage to your vehicle’s engine is if it gets sucked up through the air intake. 

If there is too much water in the motor cylinder, it can result in a hydrostatic lock or hydrolock. This is a state of the engine where the pistons will freeze, and then the engine will stall. Driving through water is dangerous, mainly if it flows over the road.  

How Much Water Does It Take To Damage An Engine?

Anything that is beyond one foot can cause damage to your vehicle. It is also possible that a small amount of water can cause severe damage to the vehicle. For example, a small amount of water in a fuel tank can damage your engine. 


In summary, many car drivers have experienced that their vehicle will not start after they have driven through water. Not all vehicles can get damaged, though. 

Some vehicles will still start. However, some vehicles will not start at all. The engine can get damaged.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more