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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

First, my family is okay. We've sustained some flood damage to our home and one car is flooded and my RAV4 is iffy. It is impossible to express the extent and breath of this utterly unfathomable catastrophic situation down here in words. Even with the losses I have, I have no problems compared to the tens of thousands who have lost everything. :frown

As I said, my 2016 RAV4 may or may not have significant damage. I just don't know enough about the undersides of vehicles to even begin to assess any damage.

My RAV4 was parked on my driveway with the front facing the garage door. Our driveway, like most, is inclined so that the rear of the vehicle is slightly lower than the front. The maximum height of the flood waters is decently clear due to the now-dried grass clippings adhering to the RAV4. Looking at the front wheels, the water rose to halfway up the wheel. Going back towards the rear of the car, it looks like it maxed out about halfway up the black trim that is along the bottom edge of the doors. Looking at the rear of the car, it seems to have risen to halfway up the muffler (the tip of the tailpipe was almost certainly submerged). The waters would have remained this high for about a day.

On the interior, it seems to be fine. I can find no evidence of water or damp carpet in the RAV4. It's been several days now and I don't smell any mold or mildew smell (and I've gotten very accustomed to that smell lately). If I open the backseat doors and look closely, it seems the water got up to the rubber door seals, but did not actually get past them, but I can't be completely sure.

I've looked in the spare tire compartment and I don't see any overt evidence of water there, either.

I, of course, have not started the car.

So, what is your best guess? How bad is this?

I do have a flood claim in with my insurance company, but it could take weeks for them to get here. If the tow truck businesses ever get a break (they're a little busy right now), I'm thinking of having the RAV4 towed to the dealership up the street from which I bought up -- assuming they aren't too flooded out themselves -- and have it checked out. What sort of things do you anticipate me having to have done to the car should it be relatively fine?

Attached are some photos taken after the water had receded enough to where I could get to the car.
 

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I doubt there's any mechanical damage and certainly isn't to the engine. Some water may come out of the muffler when you start it but no worries there. And with no water in the lowest part of the interior IMO you're totally okay. The brakes will probably make some noise due to light rust buildup but that'll go away quickly. If it was mine I'd be driving it with no concerns.
 

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I would agree with the Dr., since there was no water inside the cabin you should be fine. I would maybe check the oil to see if there is any water in it that somehow seeped in but other than that I wouldn't worry.
 

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I've seen worse from routine driving through roadway water where we live. Your RAV should be good to go as is.
 

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Mechanically, I think worst case you're looking at a new set of wheel bearings for the rear.

I'd also (very soon) go through the elecrical harnesses in the rear and any connectors that may have been submerged should be separated, cleaned, and hit with a shot of silicone spray to help prevent corrosion.

Of all of the problems that flooding a vehicle can cause, electrical issues are the most insidious because they may not crop up for weeks or months.
 

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Glad you and your family are OK!
Based on the water marks it shouldn`t have any damage at all. Nothing significant was submerged, it seems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all, I really appreciate the responses. It's...it's a mess down here.

Amazingly, I may actually have an adjuster/appraiser here early this coming week. Out of an abundance of caution, I'm not going to do anything until they look at the vehicle, but yall's observations have given me hope (especially as the car is just over year old!).

Thank you.

--Michael in Houston
 

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Best of luck - the video news reports about what has taken place in your area show a horrendous amount of devastation!
 

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I was also part of the flood here in Houston. I actually drove my rav4 thru some minor flooded streets. I car had a funky smell to it for two days, but went away. water was still poring out 2 days after the storm. I think you should be ok. just be sure to do a quick walk around with a flashlight, and inspect it. make sure no branches or forging items are in between wheels and under.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi all,

The adjuster came out today to look at the RAV4. She agreed that I was probably fine. We even started the car and it started right up, although it did cough out some water out of the exhaust that alarmed me, but she explained it was just sitting in there.

What the insurance company has instructed me to do is take it to the dealer and have them flush and replace the transmission fluid and check other fluids. After she had left, I remembered that the RAV4 has that special "sealed" transmission system. Does having this special sealed system mitigate the need to do the flush and refill?

--Michael in Houston
 
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