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The People That Are Benefiting From Flooding

The People That Are Benefiting From Flooding

There are categories of professionals that derive pleasure in other people’s misfortune. In fact, these professionals make fortunes from others’ misfortune. The saying, ‘a man’s food is another’s poison’ reverberates here.
Sunday Telegraph reports that while vehicle owners cry out over heavy flooding of the environment, which had caused several degrees of damage to their vehicles, auto parts dealers and artisan mechanics are calling for more rain and flooding to eke a living.
Auto parts sellers and mechanics, who sell and repair broken down vehicles respectively, are some of the professionals that earn a livelihood from other people’s misfortunes. They pray for more vehicles to breakdown in order to repair or replace the faulty parts.
Sola Balogun, a mechanic at 7th Avenue, Festac, Lagos State said they (mechanics) make more money during the rain, saying that a number of vehicles breakdown after driving through flooded area.
He said, “Some cars are not good enough to swim in a flood and when they enter the flood or drive quickly, it will affect the carburetor of the vehicle and it will start jerking. If the water in the carburetor is much, we have to lose it and drain it.
“I have repaired many vehicles like that. Sometimes, customers will come to my workshop and say their motor stopped somewhere in a flood. So, we have more vehicles to repair in rainy season than in the dry season.”
Corroborating him, Fidelis Ochugo, who repairs vehicles at Tedi area of Lagos, said once the flood is too much, more than what a vehicle can swim, it becomes a problem, even as the problem might not be immediate but will continue to show some bad movement.
He said the problem might start with ‘break and quench’ experience and will later develop into something that requires the work of a mechanic.
“Generally, I will say that I make more money during the rainy season because of water. Once it rains, I make small money here and there. To some of them, the water will damage the engine entirely,” he added.
At Ikeja Mechanic Village, Ikeja, Lagos, Philip Okorie said he makes more money in the rainy season than dry season, stating that during the rainy season, shocks absorbers go bad and even the security system of the vehicle.
Supporting this point, Taiwo Solanke, a car auto electrician, who re echoed that during flooding of the environment, electrical issues will come up because it has affected some sensitive parts of the vehicles which will make it to go bad.
He noted that after some vehicles have navigated through flooded areas, some of the vehicles’ horns will start sounding on its own until the driver decides to remove the battery head.
“Of course, some wires would have been bridged because of the water and you know that electricity and water are not friends. Water can transfer current. So, I make more money during the rain. A lot of things get spoilt during the rain,” he said.
Panel beaters are not left out in this booming business as Braimo Ogunbiyi, a panel beater said, rusting occurs in the rain because Lagos water is acidic and salty, and these facilitate the rate of rustage in most vehicles plying the Lagos roads.
“You need to see underneath of some vehicles, very rusty. Some of them have been passing through flood and the salt water has affected the body of many motors on the road. Water eats up the pan faster and this will make some important parts of the vehicle body to break when driver enters pothole,” he said.
In the same vein, a trader, Johnson Akpu, who deals on the car brainbox, said flooding or persistent rain translates into a big business for him.
He noted that water is the greatest enemy brainbox has and once water enters in it or submerged in flood, the whole system of the car will malfunction.
According to him, many vehicles are built with several electronic components on the floor of the vehicle and when water begins to seep into the vehicle cabin, it will definitely get to the control module that is embedded in the floor of the vehicle.
He said, “As for me, flooding means a big business for us, the auto parts dealers, because when the vehicles drive in the flood, certain parts in the vehicles break down, especially the brainbox.
“Brainbox doesn’t like rain or water and that is why it’s hidden in the vehicles. Brainbox and water are two great enemies, so when water enters it, especially for the motors that have their brainbox underneath the floor.
“Without water or flood, a brainbox can last for years but water reduces its life span. So, you can imagine what will happen if I sell only brainbox; what will happen when don’t breakdown. They have to malfunction for me to eat.
“We make money now. It’s normal that water will enter people car and their carburetor. We have cases of people coming to say that their vehicles started malfunctioning during the rainy days.”
For this expert and motorist, Kunle Shonaike, driving through normal rainfall shouldn’t cause any danger, except the imperative safety procedures are not observed, rather worry would begin when the rain continues ceaselessly and the level of water begins to rise, covering drainages and road surfaces; one should get apprehensive as the flood swallows one’s vehicle’s bumpers and water starts seeping into the vehicle’s cabin.
He said: “So many motorists have lost their vehicles and unfortunately their lives in scenarios like this. How does flood damage your engine? During induction stroke, air enters the engine combustion chambers through the inlet or intake manifold via the air filter and air intake snorkel.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that many vehicles’ air snorkels are positioned below the front bumper area to get better air at atmospheric pressure.
It was learnt that some manufacturers will position it above the front bumper around the front grill area. So, when the water level begins to rise up to and above the front bumper area, the engine is at risk of sucking in water as against air only.
He continued: “And when water is sucked into the combustion chamber and the engine piston rises up during compression stroke, it finds it difficult to compress because water is incompressible and a condition known as hydro lock occurs.
“The piston stops midway and the force the crankshaft uses to push the piston upward causes the connecting rod to bend or snap and break through the engine block. Water level can also rise up to the level where it can get into electrical and electronic components of the vehicle.
“Many vehicles are built with so many electronic components on the floor level. When water begins to seep into the vehicle cabin, be sure that water will definitely get to any control module that is embedded in the floor of the vehicle.
“A modern vehicle will have an average of five electronic control units (computers) also known as “brain boxes” on the street. These computers are not any different from your phone, laptop, TV or stereo at home.
“Now, picture a situation where your phone or laptop is submerged in water. When water gets into the circuitry of an electronic component, it causes the unit to be short-circuited because water is a conductor of electricity. The situation will be worse for people living in coastal cities, like Lagos where the water is salty or saline.
“Salinity in water increases conductivity and speeds up rust, therefore a vehicle that is submerged and not rescued on time to be treated stands a grave risk of serious damages that may be permanent and this is why I am amazed at some persons who take delight in seeking and buying flooded vehicles from abroad, especially in America, where there have been many hurricanes recorded in the last couple of years.
“Water can also get into other mechanical components and cause damage to them. When a vehicle is completely submerged, water can get into the engine crankcase through the dipstick or other openings and contaminate the engine oil. The same will happen to the transmission or gearbox and the differentials, steering, suspension and driveline parts will not be spared too.
“Some motorists are actually the cause of their vehicles going off while driving on flooded roads. When they get to potholes filled with water or flash flooded area, instead of approaching gently and accelerating slightly, they bounce into the flood and accelerate aggressively in the bid to quickly get out, but they get stuck.
“Plunging into a puddle of water will cause it to splash and the radiator fan will help to propel it to areas that can cause the engine to go off or begin to misfire and will be unable to move very well and eventually stop inside the flood.
“If however you were driving gently and the engine stalls, do not for any reason try to restart the engine because every turn of the engine is causing more damage to the engine. Instead, get help to push the vehicle out of the flood as soon as possible.”
“Water is a good conductor of electricity, but most times negatively. We use water in our engine liquid cooling systems (mixed with anti-freeze and anti-rust) in a controlled manner because the water is restricted from entering some critical areas to perform its function as a coolant.
“Should the water escape to areas where it is restricted from entering, the engine will malfunction or be damaged. This is under a controlled environment. Let us now look at situations where the vehicle owner has little or no control over how water gets into the vehicle, say, through an unprofessional car wash and flooding.
“We have witnessed cases where vehicles were taken to car washes and the unsuspecting vehicle owners allow the engine to be steam washed without proper precautions and those vehicles ended up ruined! I am not saying you shouldn’t steam wash your vehicle engine but you must be sure the car wash attendants know what they are doing, because there are many electrical and electronic components under the hood of a modern automobile that water must not get into.
“If the water level is gradually rising and you are sure it will keep rising due to persistent rainfall, try to pull over if you can, remove the battery terminals and tie them together (this will discharge any voltage stored in capacitors in control modules). Remove the battery completely from the vehicle if you can; this procedure will help save almost all the control modules after recovery.”
Speaking further, he noted that the recovery of a flooded or submerged vehicle should be prompt and immediate to safeguard its vital components; the longer the vehicle stays in the flood, the greater the risks.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that when a flooded vehicle is recovered from the flood site, it should be taken to a higher ground and stripped; remove the seats and carpets, wash them and ensure they dry out completely.
It was learnt that removal of all the electronic control modules, open and dry them will be ideal too. It’s important to detach all cable connectors and use compressed air to chase out water and moisture, and apply lubricant before connecting them back after it has dried completely.
It also advisable to remove all spark plugs, clean and dry them, blow plug holes. Change all fluids: engine oil and filter, transmission fluid and filter (if automatic). If manual, change the gear oil, differential oil, drain and replace fuel and filter.
Another method is to use compressed air to chase water and moisture from alternator and starter motor and allow them to dry. Drying out some of these components may take a couple of days with good sunshine.
If all procedures are adhered to strictly, chances are that you may not encounter any damage or just minimal damage. Restoring a flooded vehicle to the road with every system functional is a painstaking procedure that requires time, patience and sometimes huge funds, hence the need for the government to tackle the issue of flooding of the environment.

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