MANILA, Philippines – Heavy rains over the past days have caused floods in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, damaging not only people’s homes but also their vehicles.
Among them is ABS-CBN reporter Alvin Elchico, whose car was caught in a flash flood in Quezon City around midnight on Tuesday.
Elchico said he was driving home after work when flood waters suddenly rose at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue.
“Tatlo kaming kotse noon, lahat kami tumirik,” he told ABS-CBNnews.com. “Pinuwersa ko tapos tumigil [‘yung kotse ko]. Nasa gitna kami ng daan. Nagpatulong kami na mapunta sa gilid [ng daan].”
Since he has to report for work on Wednesday morning, Elchico opted to check in to a hotel instead of heading home as he waited for his car to be cleared of flood water.
“’Yung loob ng kotse ko parang swimming pool,” he shared. “Ayaw kong paandarin…dinala ko sa mekaniko. Napaandar naman.”
While his car is still running, Elchico said he will still need to have it cleaned and checked for damages.
Asked what he learned from the incident, the reporter said: “’Wag basta-bastang sumugod sa daan dahil mukha siyang mababaw. Hindi pantay ang mga daaan dito, may mga mababa.
“’Wag maging padalos-dalos. Humingi ka ng tulong dahil magiging hazard ka sa daan,” he added.
Incidents of cars being swept away by flood waters in Metro Manila are not new, with the last one caused by tropical storm “Ondoy” in 2009.
What to do with flood-damaged vehicles
Elchico did the right thing by seeking the help of an automotive repair professional instead of taking risks, said Johnny Angeles, vice president and chairman of the road safety committee of the Automotive Association of the Philippines.
In a separate interview with ABS-CBNnews.com, Angeles said vehicles that wade through flood water -- regardless of depth -- should be checked and cleaned before being used again.
“‘Di bale sana kung rain water lang. Ang flood water may basura na ‘yan eh. Madaling kakalawangin ‘yung makina sa ilalim ‘pag binaha,” he said.
“Dalhin mo sa reputable na repair shop [para sigurado ka],” he added.
Angeles then gave these tips on how to deal with a flood-damaged vehicle.
1. Remove all mud, garbage, and other traces of flood water from your car using fresh water to stop parts from rusting out quickly.
2. If water entered the engine cylinder, replace the oil with a fresh supply. Wash the cylinder clean and change the engine oil again. Repeat the process until oil in the engine looks the same as when it came from the container.
3. Check the car’s brakes as these may be damaged by flood water. To be on the safe side, the car’s brake system including the four wheels and the master cylinder should be overhauled. When in doubt, don’t use the car until it is repaired.
4. If the whole car is submerged in flood, wait for the water to subside. Resist the urge to salvage it and seek the help of a professional. Have the car towed and checked for damages.
5. Check if the car has insurance coverage against so-called “acts of God” or acts of nature. If the car has it, get a compensation claim. If it doesn’t, consider getting one.
6. It is best to replace all of the car’s parts if the entire vehicle was submerged in flood water. Entrust cars only to reputable shops, as some mechanics tend to take advantage of the situation and charge higher. Those who are not willing to spend thousands having their cars fixed may consider selling instead.
7. After the repairs, use the car every day to see if some damages have been overlooked. In particular, check the brakes, wipers and car locks.