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Repair experts warn of hidden dangers behind driving through floodwaters

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - When it rains, it pours, but even days after floodwaters receded in the Baton Rouge area, some drivers are still dealing with water in their cars. As repair shops get slammed with cars that took on water, experts tell the 9News Alert Team more cars could be on the way.

Photo Source: WAFB

Louis Altazan, president of AgCo Automotive, said the numbers will increase when drivers notice problems that creep up in the coming days.

“What most people don’t realize is how little water it takes to damage a car,” he said. “Water, as little as maybe four or five inches, can do damage to a lot of the newer cars.”

Altazan said they have gotten about a half dozen cars into his shop and all of them are full of water. He believes some drivers can try to dry things out themselves.

“At the very least, you can open all the doors, open all the windows, and put a fan in it and let it dry out that way. That may help,” Altazan added. He admitted that the best fix, though, may be to leave it up to the professionals. Drivers better act fast though because he said anyone who took their chances through the high water only has a small window to get everything checked out.

“You’ve got about a week to ten days at most to get in there and get the interior out, get it dried, and get it replaced or whatever, but once it’s started to mold, you’ve got a health hazard,” said Altazan.

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Louis Altazan | Photo Source: WAFB

Most of the cars in his shop are gutted out now so the interior can be dried out and cleaned up. Experts say even if some cars did not get water on the inside, there may be some problems under the hood that need to be checked out. From the air filter to the transmission, and even the wheel bearings, a little bit of water can do a world of damage. Altazan said even if a driver thinks they made it through the high water unscathed, they likely did not get past everything. He said many of the problems may not pup up until later.

"That happens quite frequently, yes,” said Altazan. “Problems may show up months later."

While many folks are warned to turn around to prevent drowning, Altazan said they may want to consider turning around to save their wallets too.

"That might be a better incentive,” he added.

Altazan said anyone who needs to get their car into a shop should take care of it right away because if they wait, there may not be any openings left.

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