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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

Protecting Your Classic Car from a Hurricane or Flood Surge

We have written articles before about protecting your classic car from hurricanes and storm surge flooding.  2020 has already seen a lot of tropical storms and damaging hurricanes like Laura that left a trail of destruction in her path.  Now, the same Gulf states are preparing themselves for another round of damaging winds and flooding with Hurricane Delta closing in.  Protecting precious classic cars and trucks are amongst the highest priorities of owners, likely second only to protecting their home and loved ones.

Cruisin’ the Coast is one of the biggest events of Coastal Mississippi’s tourism year. Thousands of classic cars and RVs are filling Coast roads and roadsides. Now they may have to leave early to avoid Hurricane Delta.  But where do they go and how do they protect these prized possessions against the dangers of the storm?

One obvious choice is to get yourself and your classic to higher ground, preferably inside safe from any damaging winds as well. Don’t wait until the last minute either.  Have a few escape routes planned in case of flooding.  Road & Track just featured a story in 2017 about a central Florida company that was offering safe storage during hurricane Irma for exotic and collector cars.  While we commend their last-minute generosity, we suggest you find a place long before the storm starts to form.

Hurricanes are inevitable if you live on the coast anywhere between North Carolina and Texas.  That stretch includes hundreds of coastal cities and millions of inhabitants.  There are a few insurance companies are using technology to beat the storms and keep their customers and their property dry and safe.  Some insurance carriers are enlisting the help of mapping and analytics software like Esri to determine which customers are most at risk.  They can then notify those customers to make them aware of how likely they are to be struck by hurricane force winds or if they live in an area that is likely to be affected by flooding.

If you are unable to get to higher ground, you may consider parking your classic car or truck on the second or third level of a parking garage.  Park it in the inner most spaces to avoid having your vehicle too close to open air.  Leaving your classic car in a public space is not ideal, but the vehicle is certainly not going to get flooded on the higher levels, as long as it does not get stolen first.

Other tactics to save your classic include jacking up your vehicle above the water level.  It is suggested to get your car on jack stands so the sills are at least 18” off the ground.  That should be high enough to survive the average flood surge.  If the storm surge is expected to be much higher, you will unfortunately need a lift to keep your classic dry.  Equipment most of us do not have access to.

One company called FG Global Shop has come up with some creative solutions to keep your vehicle safe during an imminent flood.  They produce waterproof bags that you can seal your car or truck inside to protect it from water damage.  They also have padding systems, including an inflatable version that helps protect the body from being damaged by floating debris.  Here is a quick video showing the Flood Guard Car Bag in action.

If you decide to ride out the storm, please remember that your garage door is one of the weakest and most vulnerable doors in your home.  Consider boarding it up and bracing it from the inside to withstand the onslaught of wind and water.  It is also a good idea to make sure there isn’t anything in your garage that could fall or float into your classic.  Tie it down or move it so your car doesn’t get scratched or dented.

Finally, don’t forget to disconnect the battery and store all the important papers, like the title and service records, in a dry safe place, not the glove box.  Keep them wherever you are going to store personal documents like your birth certificate.  It is probably best to keep these important papers with you.  Don’t forget that we are not out of the woods yet.  Hurricane season isn’t over until November 30th.  Please stay safe!

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