While our cities may be looking lush and green after the summer rains, the stormy weather has a far less positive impact on our cars.
Slippery roads and dangerous driving conditions are the most obvious hazards after a downpour, but few motorists realise that the puddles remaining on the roads can cause significant damage to their cars, affecting a number of different components. For example, water entering the electronic components can cause the engine to stall (posing a danger to any driver forced to stop in the middle of traffic), while a flood of water can also affect a car’s air cleaner, resulting in damage to the engine. Another danger is presented when water is sucked into the engine, causing a hydro lock. The resulting damage to the inner working of the engine is very costly to repair. Other components which may be affected include the engine control unit , as wipers that become blocked by leaves and twigs may allow water to enter these components – again causing the car to stall.
To prevent expensive repairs and minimise danger in stormy weather, drivers should:
- Undertake regular maintenance, such as cleaning cowl panels and water draining systems.
- Drive slowly over puddles in order to avoid aquaplaning and flooding the engine with water.
- Avoid low lying bridges, as fast flowing water can easily wash cars away.
- Keep a look out for potholes which damage vehicle rims, tyres and alignment.
- Remember to keep headlights on to increase visibility. Consider switching on the hazard lights if conditions are especially poor.
- Drive slowly and increase following distance when driving in the rain.