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Hello! I'm excited about this site. My Honda Accord EX 2003 (v6) got caught in a freshwater flood about 6 months ago. My car has been idle since. The water line was above the seats, & the car was on a decline, so the whole front end was underwater. I did crank the engine while under. The oil dipstick looks good, though. The battery was working for a day or two, then died. I bought a new battery, which works, but the car won't start. I bought new spark plugs, replicas of the ones that were in the vehicle. I'm assuming the ECM is damaged, so I'm planning on buying and reprogramming a new ECM to my car's VIN. I'm guessing there's probably a lot of electrical damage. Do you think the wires are okay? My plan has been to replace the battery, transmission fluid, motor oil, spark plugs, and ECM, and see if it'll run. I still need to look into what to do about the other control units: if they're damaged and if they need to be replaced, so advice on what to watch for with that would be helpful. Am I on the right track? Are there other flooded car issues to watch for, tips & tricks, signs pointing the way? I'm doing all this on a budget, necessity being the mother of invention and all. Thanks so so much & Respect, Lindsey

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jessica Howe, Automotive Expert & Coach at


Thank you for writing in, we are excited that you are excited about the website! You are absolutely on the right track. You may be able to get by without replacing the wiring harness, as long as everything is clean, dry, and tight. If the starter is cranking over the engine, you at least have electrical power going from the battery to the starter, which likely means that your fuse box is okay. The fuse box is one thing that you may want to keep in mind if things are not going well. Once the engine is at least attempting to crank over, you can start to focus on the electronics, fluids, and ignition system (spark). You should plan on replacing ALL of the fluids eventually (sooner than later if possible), including the power steering fluid and coolant. Depending on how long it sat in water, you can almost guarantee that all of the fluids have been tainted. Since the vehicle was attempted to be started while submerged, the air intake needs to be cleaned out. Replace the air filter, check the air intake sensors, and you may want to consider checking the suspension system as well. Wheel bearings, axles, CV joints, and other suspension and steering components are not meant to be submerged and will likely need new grease. Focus on getting the car started, then work on the suspension, steering, and accessories. Good luck!

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