2006 RX330 Potential Flood Damage

crazytodrivecrazytodrive Member Posts: 2
edited April 2014 in Lexus
I own a 2006 RX330 and it was recently flooded by stormdrain run-off during a flash storm. Water entered and saturated the floor, but came within an inch of the seats. Was in water for more than 45 mins. After the water receeded, it started and I was able to squeegie most of the residual water out of it. It was in driveable condition. Lots of water "spit" out the tailpipe.

We filed a flood claim and it took the appraiser a week to look at the car (we drove it to the dealer thinking they would be best able to assess any "issues"). By that time, the carpet was not wet anymore (we wet-vac'd it and left the windows open while in our garage) so the insurance company will not do anything.

We are most concerned about potential electrical damage - which could mean costly repairs and no way to prove it was due to water damage.

We have asked dealer to remove seats and pull up the carpet, etc. to look in the floor to see if there is any residual damage. All at our expense. Since we filed a claim, it will permanently follow the vehicle, so it's resale value has dropped dramatically.

Anyone have experience with water damage in these vehicles?


  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    There hasn't been much discussion there lately but you may want to look at Flood damaged cars: Legal Issues which started after Katrina. Who knows? You might even revive the topic with a posting there! :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • george118george118 Member Posts: 3
    I have 2007 Lexus RX400h - hybrid. It has gotten water damage to the hybrid system and we do not know how. It was not flooded but was outside during a heavy rainstorm in the Boston area on 9/6/08. The windows were not open. The "Check Hybrid System" warning light came on within driving 5-6 miles of starting to drive on the Monday after the rainstorm. There had been no sign of any water in the passenger part of the car. I stopped for gas and after that the car would not start. Lexus examined it and said there was significant water damage to the hybrid system (hybrid batteries are under the rear seats). Lexus Service said the interior of the car below the carpets was all wet & that it "looked like I had parked in a river". The car was not parked in a place where that much water could accumulate or pool to flood the car. The insurance company wants to repair it, but Lexus Service says it "should be totalled", that it will never be the same again, even after repairs, that I will always have problems with it, etc.

    The car was previously rear-ended and was repaired at body shop authorized by my insurance company to repair Lexus cars. It's possible that that body shop failed to seal something properly. But Lexus Service has at least initially said that they cannot determine how so much water got in the car to cause such extensive damage. This seems odd to me. If Lexus Service & the Insurance Company can not figure out how this happened, then I really think it does not make sense to rapair the car, as it's likely to happen again.

    The car is usually garaged, but has been outside all summer due to other stuff being in the garage. Car has been unaffected by rain up to this point and I have loved the car.

    I have 2 questions: #1: Has anyone else experienced problems with this car on any Lexus getting water in the car as a result on just heavy rain that somehow got into the car and could not get out thereby accumulating on the floor of the car and causing significant electrical damage? Specificaly in the hybrid models?

    #2: Lexus Service man said his advice about "totalling the car" was "off the record". This really has me annoyed. I paid Lexus $50,000 for a car that has suffered a catastrophic failure because it was left outside in a rainstorm and they will not go 'on record' to help me to get the insurance company to total the car. Has anyone had similar unsatisfactory experience with Lexus Service in such a ssituation and what advice do you have?
  • crazytodrivecrazytodrive Member Posts: 2
    I find that odd that the Lexus people would not advocate for you. We were lucky to have such an excellent dealer who fought for us tooth and nail. The service manager, sales manager, service techs, etc. all spoke to the appraiser and would stop at nothing to get the car totaled. From their viewpoint, it would never be the same car and we would never be happy customers. We're in the MetroWest Boston area - is this the dealer you purchased the car from?

    We also had difficulty with the insurance company instructing the appraiser to "appraise for visible damage only". The insurance company didn't want to make a big claim payout - I wonder if you have the same insurance company? We went to great extents to prove to the insurance company that there was indeed flood damage. You shouldn't have to do that though because your car isn't working properly.

    You did mention that your car wasn't parked anywhere near a flood-prone area. However, my car was in the same situation. It was parked in a parking lot near a storm drain and we had a torrential downpour and within 5 minutes, water was halfway up the doors and over the wheels. Sadly, there was no way I could have rescued it. The water receded after 45 mins. One would have never known that it was damaged. Is it possible that there was poor drainage where your car was parked and water entered the vehicle, but you didn't know it because it happened over night? Were there "lines" on the outside of the doors or on the inside of the car showing the level of water?

    Just something to think of. At this point, if they can't discover how it happened, you are going to have to fight the insurance company to have it totaled, just like we did. It took us a month of calling and calling and eventually having the service manager telling them that there was mold growing in it. They eventually realized that we weren't going away and decided to total it. Even then, we had to make sure that we were receiving adequate market value for the car. Make sure that they include the moonroof and all the options you have on the car. We also fought for the cost of the new tires we had put on recently. They didn't give us anywhere near what we paid for the tires, but we did receive an additional amount for them.

    Just to prove that this was all over nothing, they came to pick it up and said they were going to take it to auction and sell it "as is". We ended up purchasing a pre-owned RX350 (husband has been unemployed for 6 months).

    Good Luck - you're in for a fight.
  • george118george118 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the response. At this point, I've had just one convesation with Lexus Service rep and no contact from our Insurance Company yet. So, I realize, we are just starting down the road of bargaining & negotiating. It's really too early to say that Lexus Service (Northborough) is not going to be more helpful. It's just the intial "off the record" comment that is annoying. The car was parked in our own driveway, which has unobstructed run-off. There is nothing that could have caused water to flood that high. I've told the Insurance Company they can come and see where it was parked.
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