What type of damage would the engine of a 2008.

  • 70,000 MILES
What type of damage would the engine of a 2008 pontiac soltice gxp sustain from being driven into water about a foot deep? In November my brother in law drove his pontiac soltice into about a foot of standing water when our area flooded from storms. The car was only in the water for a very short amount of time. He and my sister were able to push it back to a dry spot within 10-15 min of hitting the high water.

We assumed the battery died because he kept his lights on while waiting for the tow truck. He took the car to a local repair shop and they are telling him that he needs to have "rods and piston" replaced, if not the entire engine. Anyways, long story short, he's an idiot and knows nothing about cars and never should have bought it in the first place. He owes my parents a lot of money and he has agreed to sell the car "as is" to pay off the debt. I find it hard to believe though that if everything he is telling me is true about when the car flooded, that it would have resulted in entire engine failure.

He thinks that the auto repair shop is not familiar with this type of vehicle and are not giving him an accurate diagnosis. He is really short on cash and towing the car to a dealership for a second opinion/repair quote is kind of a "non-option". Basically what I am asking is what type of damage would typically be sustained from something like this? We have no idea what to try to sell the car for unless we have an idea what the repairs might entail.

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 AT 5:19 PM

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What you're referring to is called "hydrolock". Water doesn't compress like air does so the water will stop the pistons. I doubt that has caused that much damage. First of all, water should not have gotten into the fresh air intake from just one foot of water. Second, if he was going fast enough to splash water up that high, some air would still have gone in. The water would stall the engine but the chance of damaging a piston or connecting rod would be pretty small.

What does it sound like now when you try to start the engine? If it cranks normally, I would remove the spark plugs and let it sit for a couple of days to dry out. Check the oil level too. If it is too high, water might have worked its way into it. Change the oil and filter, then change it again once the engine is running.

There is an entirely separate issue with the battery going dead. General Motors is one of the most customer-unfriendly manufacturers in the world. They have purposely designed in many things to separate owners from their money after the sale, and the battery issue is one of the best-known. Running the battery dead, or simply disconnecting it to replace it can lock up numerous computers and the radio. Often the car must be towed to the dealer to have them unlocked. In addition, they had a 100 percent failure rate of their cd radios. Since the '94 model year, GM has refused to sell us radio service manuals or parts so you are tied to their two grossly over-priced repair centers. A typical repair bill is around $450.00. To avoid that, a lot of people installed high-quality aftermarket radios. Now, to fight back, GM has been building the Body Computer into the radio so you must pay to have it repaired for the car to run. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to do that except to cost people money. There are so many of these "got'chas" built in that people are getting stung with that GM is having a hard time finding repeat customers.
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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 AT 6:18 PM

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