Heavy Rains Create Car Problems

Keeping mechanics and insurance agents busy

Heavy rain has a way of bringing in business to mechanic Tim Kotter of Kotter VW Repair in Escondido.

"I actually had three customers come in," said Kotter. "They all had check engine lights come on."

Kotter said drivers complained of misfiring, stalling and other issues that are typical during a heavy rain.

"It gets in the belts, gets on the engine, gets the electrical," said Kotter.  He said the moisture can cause spark plugs to misfire and even cause engine belts to slip which can impact power steering.

Water from the road can be forced into the engine compartment like a car wash blasting under the hood.  While a submerged car can cause heavy damage and ruin an engine, the problems most drivers are experiencing are temporary.  The heat from the engine will help dry things out and the problems will go away.  However if the check engine light stays on, you should visit your mechanic.

But what if your car is flooded, who pays for the damage?  That depends on your insurance coverage.

State Farm insurance agent Walt Waggener said, "Whether it was parked somewhere and the water rises or you made a bonehead decision and drove through that creek, it's going to be covered if you have a comprehensive insurance policy."

If you only have liability, then the damage to your car is not covered; it must be comprehensive to file a claim.  But Waggener said most claims after a rain are not for water damage.

"Most of the claims come from people running into each other," said Waggener, "not driving into creeks."

So what do you think about how San Diego drivers fare in the rain? Join the conversation at NBC 7's Consumer Bob's Facebook page.

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