BETHESDA, Md. -- "Turn around, don't drown" is the warning repeated over and over during rainy weather. Driving through floodwaters can be deadly. But at best, a car crashing through standing water can spell a big payday for your mechanic.
"It's going to cost you a lot of money at the end of the day," said mechanic Paul Blumenfeld. The manager of Metro Motor River Road Auto Haus in Bethesda says the shop sees waterlogged cars at least twice a month.
"I think, man, this is going to be an expensive ordeal short and long term," said Blumenfeld.
The shop walked through the top three problems caused by water:
1. Water can ruin your engine. The car's air induction system sucks in air from a scoop on the bottom of the car. Blumenfeld says if waves crash up into the intake, it's "game over." A car gulping water instead of air will bend rods and pistons since it does not compress like a fuel-air mixture. "It's like trying to get through steel," said Blumenfeld.
2. Electronics can short out. The bottom of a car is filled with them. From electronic antilock brake sensors to electronic sensors for power steering racks, Blumenfeld says sensors marinating in water will ruin them.
3. Corrosion is a car killer. Better known as rust, this is a long-term problem caused by driving through floodwaters, said Blumenfeld.
"It's a bad day for a car owner and a good day for me," said Blumenfeld. "If you're looking at a puddle and thinking 'should I do it?' the answer is no."