Accident Clean-up Question from Amisha Muni

Submitted on 19/12/2008

I parked my car by the river on 14th Dec and it caught a high tide. About 2-3 inches of water inside. I got all the water out, and the car runs fine. Got the carpet cleaned on the 15th. Now it has started smelling and feels a bit damp. How much would it cost to get the carpet removed/dried thoroughly? I live in Twickenham, Middlesex. Thanks & regards, Amisha Muni Model: Renault Clio, 3 door hatchback, 2001 Y Reg

Dear Amisha,

We had similar car in the summer, somebody just wanted us to dry the carpet and get rid of the smell. It sounds simple in theory, but in practice, it wasn't possible to dry the car in a sensible time scale without removing it... even in the summer. The underlay is quite thick and it's very good at holding onto water.

So, we do have to remove the carpets, which involves stripping out the interior.
Once we start down this route, I'm afraid we cannot do things by half measures -- there are safety implications... for example, we know that the seat belt winders have been submersed. They may seem to work fine, but we would be irrisponsible to fit them back into the car knowing there may be damage to them, even if you told us that that is what you wanted us to do.

So, just taking out carpets, drying them and putting them back is not something we are willing to do, just in case there are issues of liability. If it were a little splosh of water in one footwell, it would be a different story, but with 2-3 inches of water throughout the whole car, there are too many ways in which there could be unseen damage to electrics, cables etc. We can only take this on as a restoration project and return the car in full working order, complete with safety check.

To do this would cost in the region of £1000-£1500 plus the cost of any parts. So if you did want to do it, you would probably want to do it through your insurance company, which is something we can help you with, as we already deal with most of the major insurance companies.
The other peice of good news is that the price will proably be nearer the bottom end of this price scale and there should be very few parts that need replacing.

I should mention some of the complications that we could possibly encounter. For example, if the carpet underlay turns out to be mouldy, it might need replacing. We have been in a situation where we have waited weeks for carpets, and headlingings to be delivered from parts warehouses in Europe, meaning that we are stuck with a dismantled car in our workshop for much longer than we would like, during which time we have to make dozens of calls chasing the parts. I'm sure you'd prefer it if the insurance company paid our storage and admin costs. Frankly, once you start dismantaling cars, there are all sorts of complications which can occur. This is all part and parcel of a restoration, so it means we need to allow for it. Normally we give an estimate, sometimes the final bill come in under the estimate, sometimes over.

I hope this gives you a better picture of the situation.



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