How to Save Your Flooded Jeep

You can tackle that mud hole. After all, you’ve got a top-of-the-line snorkel, a lifted suspension, and giant tires. What could possibly go wrong?

Such is the thought of many an off-road enthusiast. The problem lies in when the mud hole, or river, or pond, or flooded gully, is much deeper than we think. Now you have water gushing through the door seals and windows, a pool of mud and gunk accumulating on the floor and seats of your rig, and the sound of “I told you so” filling your ears from the passenger seat.

After winching out, you wonder if it’s possible to save your truck from the inevitable mold and corrosion which will arise from such dampness. Now for the good news: it IS possible, but you need to act quickly.

  1. Look for the high-water mark. Anything below this must be dried out and thoroughly cleaned. This includes the engine, fuel system, and transmission, unless they have already been sealed against such water.
  2. Check the dipsticks for water droplets; if they are there, then change the fluids and all relevant filters. Siphon the fuel tank and check for water; if there is any, drop the tank and have it professionally cleaned and replace the fuel filter. After all this has been done, be sure to replace all fluids again in about a thousand miles to ensure the system is perfectly clean after being run.
  3. Sop up all standing water in the cabin and take a carpet cleaner to the floors and seats. Open up the door panels to ensure that the insides are clean and dry. Change the cabin air filter, which may have become saturated. Be sure to leave the windows open for several days to allow any residual moisture to dry up, particularly from the padding in the seats.
  4. Check the running lights to make sure they have not taken on water, which could result in a short down the road.

Even after tackling this job, it still doesn’t ensure a factory finish on your favorite rig. A waterlogged electrical system will likely give you gremlins for years, something worth considering if you were already debating getting a new vehicle. So, driver beware: is that pond worth the trouble?