Drivers Pay The Price After Downpour

In Houston, when it not only rains but it pours, someone has to pay the price. Worst hit though was the lowly trusty automobile.

A line of cars covered in leaves and muck decorate the shop at Demo’s Automotive just off Tangley Road in Rice Village. From Volkswagen’s to Mini Coopers, they all tried to brave the flood water and not surprisingly the water won.

General Manager Costa Kouzounis says when it comes to water, height in a vehicle may not be your friend. 

"The biggest misconception that people don’t realize is that the air intake level. Most newer fuel injected cars the air intake is very low, and that is almost like a funnel where it absorbs the water, draws the water up into the motor."

Kouzounis knows his customers will do what they can to make it to work. Unfortunately, it’s that attitude that brought their car into his repair shop in the first place, but there is hope. 

"Flood damaged vehicle as long as it was repaired correctly is not a major risk. The risk is actually when a car is not repaired correctly and you’re the subsequent owner of it."

Some people may be thinking about off-loading damaged vehicles from the storm. If you’re buying a car second-hand and you want to make sure you’re not the unlucky recipient of a badly repaired flood damaged one Kouzounis says there are a few tell tale signs.

"If it wasn’t repaired correctly you can look for oils that are discolored, you can pick up mildew type smell that might be coming from the interior. Clearly, if you have any dash lights, warning lights coming on —  that alerts you that there’s an electrical type problem."

Monday’s weather took the city by surprise and should another deluge of rain hit the city Kouzounis has this advice.

"There’s not many modifications, if any, a consumer can actually do to a car to be able to drive through high water. The best thing is try to avoid going through rising water. If your vehicle does stall, then try to get it in a safe location."

Bio photo of Edel Howlin

Edel Howlin

Producer, Houston Matters

Edel is a producer on Houston Matters and reporter for PBS’s Newshour Weekend...