How do I check my fuel system after a flood?

How do I know if there's water in my gas tank or fuel system? My neighborhood got hit pretty hard by a recent hurricane. Luckily, our building is okay and we didn't have any issues with our home. Our car, though, is a different story—the garage where we park was completely flooded. I know I need to check my fuel system for water to get a sense of how bad the damage is, but I've never had to do this before and I'm not sure where to start.

Answer
I’m so glad that you and your loved ones are all right, and I’m so sorry about your car! Here’s how to check your fuel system and what to look for:
  • Check the waterline. This is the best way to confirm how deep the car was submerged. If the water reached the bottom of the doors, odds are that you’re fine; just let the undercarriage of the car dry out before starting it. A waterline at the top of the wheel rim is a bigger concern, as some electronics were probably submerged. And if it appears the hood was underwater, there is a very good chance that water got into your engine—meaning you might be looking at a heavy amount of damage.
  • Check for signs of water entry. If the air filter and intake are wet, it’s highly likely that water got into your engine elsewhere, too.
  • Remove as much water as possible. If you find any water, drain the tank and lines and change the fuel filter.
Once you’ve done this, unless you’re a mechanic, it’s time to take your vehicle to a repair shop. If you have comprehensive coverage, you’re in luck—your insurance should cover the repairs. Make sure to file a claim as soon as you’re able.
If a hurricane hit your area, other folks are probably filing claims, as well. Getting claims in early and documenting the damage will help your claim to be resolved as quickly as possible.
If you don’t have comprehensive insurance and if hurricanes are common in your area, it might be wise to add that coverage to your policy once things have settled down. An easy, stress-free way to do this is through Jerry.
The Jerry app gathers multiple customized quotes instantly—all you have to do is choose the best price for the coverage you need. And if you pick a new provider, we’ll even help you switch! That way, you can rest easy in the future, knowing that you have the coverage you need for the lowest price possible.
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Ben Guess
Answered on Sep 15, 2021
Ben has a BA in Journalism + Design from The New School, as well as three years’ experience in content writing and data journalism. They are deeply interested in how the car industry intersects with issues of inequity in the world, as well as in making auto insurance more accessible through writing. When they’re away from the keyboard, they enjoy baking, embroidering, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends. They are based in Boston, Massachusetts.
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