Lifestyles, Galas and Gaiety from St. Charles Avenue Magazine's Morgan Packard
Have a flooded car? Here's 5 tricks to deal with it.
Lake Avenue in Metairie flooding
Yesterday as the rains fell, the street bordering our offices, Lake Avenue, turned into an onomatopoeic situation. As the water reached knee-height our new intern from Boston, Dee Fuller, asked me if this is what New Orleans was like every day. I replied: only in summer. We are at tropical city after all.
So as the daily afternoon rains fall, and sometimes turn into flash floods, New Orleanians have to adopt new skills and talents. Like dealing with flooding inside your car.
I've lost one car, a BMW Z4, to flash flooding before the drainage on the street in front of my house was fixed last year. And the car that I'm driving now has had water on the floorboards at least three times. Through it all, I've learned some tips and tricks I would like to share with you in case find yourself similarly put out.
1: Take out your floor mats and put them somewhere to dry. Having them around in the car will not let you get to the real problem.
2: Invest in a wet vac. Especially one with a very long extension cord that can go from your porch to wherever your car is parked. It is a beautiful thing to be able to watch all of that water come out of your car and flow into the gutters. If you're very lucky, you can invest in a battery operated one or have a small generator in your trunk that will work the same way, so that you can suck the water out wherever you are.
3: A new use for vodka: Put equal parts vodka and water in a spray bottle and spray down the non-leather parts of your car. (I know this sounds counterintuitive, but it works.) Then leave it as open as possible in the sun. The vodka will dissipate and take some of the water with it as it goes, drying out the wet portions. Note: you can also use rubbing alcohol if you prefer not to use vodka.
4: Consider cat litter. It isn’t the best smelling solution in the world, but it’s definitely better than the smell of mildew and mold. Put cat litter down in a thin layer across the floorboards of your wet car and it will soak up the water. Consider the clumping kind, for easier access. Also the easiest way to clean it up is to use a mini-vac.
5: Invest in DampRid. For each cup holder in your car, take a Mardi Gras cup that you don't love, place it in the cup holder, and fill one-third up with DampRid. It will generate water pulling it out of the air in your car. I find myself emptying the cups of water, but not the DampRid that's left, at least twice a day for the first few days after flooding.
None of these five tricks will fix a car that has water and its engine. So here's the most important tip of all: If you think there’s any possibility of water having gotten into your engine, have it towed immediately – do not start your engine.
If you have any tricks that you use when your car floods, I'd love to read about them; these are just the ones that personally have worked for me. Here's to not flooding and enjoying the rain that cools us off instead of seeing it as a liability.