There are things you could do to repair water-damaged cars, read on.

   The question is;  Can a completely submerged car in salt water be repaired? Depends on how bad and how long it’s been sitting in salt water that is the key. If sitting submerged for days they are often considered a write-off by insurance companies, If acting quickly maybe the vehicle can be salvaged. Read on.

    Even though a vehicle was totally submerged in water it could cause irreversible damage in the long term, but in my estimation, if there is any hope of saving your car. Time is of the essence to save the vital parts of your drive train. (Engine, transmission/drive line.)

   A Submerged vehicle in Salt water is far worse than being submerged in fresh water. Salt is a form of acid and salt water could creep into all the electrical components and hidden places.  Some say it can take a year or more before the harm shows its ugly face.

   That’s why I commented, “Time is of the Essence.”

But if there is any hope of saving your vehicle.: Here is what I would do.

If a car was towed to my shop that was submerged in salt water, this is the first thing I would do.

Realizing an important ingredient with today’s cars.  Most vehicles built today have sealed (waterproof) connections electronics and wiring. The mechanical components such as the gas tank and differential are sealed except for two vital components.    “The exhaust and the air-port going into your engine.”

    The exhaust and the air-port going into your engine. “Click Here to Advanced Auto Parts Link

    A water-filled exhaust should drain naturally. But removing the salt water from the engine is crucial and the sooner the better. “Click Here to Mach1services”


1. Evaluate the damage. Is it worth it? If it is then continue.

2. WARNING… DO NOT TRY AND START YOUR CAR BEFORE YOU DO THIS FIRST! (Hydraulic lock-up will occur and will do damage to the engine)

3. Removing battery cables from a battery is a must-do first, but just for the time being.

4. Completely wash down the whole engine compartment from mud and foreign material. (under the hood)

5. Remove the air filter and clean all mud and debris from inside the air box going into the engine. Make sure no more unwanted material goes into your carburetor or the intake of the engine.

6. Remove all spark plugs and turn the engine over by hand many times, it will remove all the water trapped in the engine cylinders. Use an oil can or WD-40 and spray inside the cylinders to coat the internal parts of the engine. Turn the engine over until you’re satisfied the parts are well-coated with oil. Then reinstall the spark plugs.

7. Check the engine oil, if it’s above the normal line on the dip-stick “you have water in the oil.” Do a complete oil and filter change to remove the contaminants?

8. The exhaust could be full of water but it should drain itself out on its own. (Having the front of the car higher than the back will help drain the water from exhaust pipes faster)

9. If it’s a diesel engine you have to remove the injectors to spit the salt water out of the cylinders and follow the same instructions as above.

10. Remove all the solids and mud from inside the car. When you have the worst of the debris out of the car, open the doors and use a pressure washer and completely wash down the interior of the vehicle. Don’t forget to wash all the hiding spots. If you don’t they will show their ugly face down the road. REMEMBER salt is a killer to anything metal.

Final Step Before Starting Your Car.

  After you find the interior reasonably to your liking, I would go one step further and put a household dehumidifier in the car. Close the door and let it draw all the dampness from the interior, before starting. Or open the car doors on a hot day to dry the interior.

     The reason is. A car’s electrical components such as ignition and power windows etc would still be damp and could very well short out the complete system. This is not the time to be in a hurry.”

     Drying the interior first would be a must. It could take a couple of days,

    That should dry out all the electrical components as well as the interior inside. Now that you’re happy everything is dry, the spark plugs are back in the engine. Install the battery cables and test them for starting.

    If it runs you’ll have to change the oil for the second time. Recheck the transmission oil level and replace it if you feel it’s got water damage. Replace the air filter.

    This could be a good start, Doing everything in that order is important.

    Extra note; if you find the oil in the power steering, transmission or engine looking milky, change the oil immediately. (Water in the oil turns a milky colour)

Photoshop jeep driving in water.

Trucks with snorkels can drive in water.

  Ever wonder why off-road 4-wheel trucks can drive in water up to the windows? With an aftermarket snorkelling kit installed they can theoretically drive in water. “As long as the engine is sucking in clean air instead of salt water.”

Good luck. I hope this helps.

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