SAN MATEO — The week of intense storms that drenched Northern California and flooded neighborhoods across the Bay Area has some residents facing some daunting repairs for their vehicles.
Cars were often submerged in floodwaters, sometimes from overflowing creeks, like on Arroyo Court in San Mateo, where William Winfield lives.
“One of my neighbors was parked down there. She had an older car. By the time she got there, the flooding was so intense it messed up her electrical system. Her insurance company ended up totaling the car,” he said.
His car was parked on the street that flooded as well, but his didn’t sit in water quite as deep as his neighbors. He was able to get his car out.
“My car had about two inches of water, only on the right-hand side,” he said.
Water made it inside his car, but so far, he says everything seems to be working okay.
In San Francisco, at JR Automotive, Jesus Rojas says his shop is starting to work on cars with flood-related damage. He’s not surprised, considering the amount of flooding that happened throughout the Bay Area.
“Definitely there will be more vehicles coming in,” he said. “Maybe not today, not tomorrow, but eventually.”
Rojas says some people could immediately tell their cars were damaged by the flooding, but others may not learn of flood-related problems until later on down the line.
“Over time, water and condensation will get into electronics,” he said. “It can take a month or even a year before you start seeing some of those signs.”
Water damage can lead to pricey repairs.
“If the water got to the point where it damages a lot of electronics on the vehicle, it can actually be more than the value of the vehicle,” he said.
Winfield feels for his neighbors who are now dealing with the flooding fallout.
“There were at least four [cars] that were towed away because they didn’t get out here in time,” he said.
He remains hopeful he doesn’t see any problems with his car as the year unfolds.