Ghulam Abbas’s Honda City 2000 was submerged till the bonnet when he went outside his house in Federal B Area Block 18 after Karachi’s saw its third spell of monsoon rains this month.
After the water subsided, the car couldn’t start and when Abbas brought a mechanic to check the problem, he was told that the car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) was damaged and would cost him Rs15,000.
Abbas is not the only one whose car had been damaged by Monday’s heavy downpour. Images and videos of cars, including some brand new vehicles, floating in rainwater flooded Twitter Monday as citizens documented the flooding of the streets in one of Karachi’s most sought after middle-income neighborhoods of North Nazimabad.
Women’s 👩👧👧 mighty and oldest Hyderi market and linked roads were badly affected by yesterday rain. Speechless with the fact that so called years of development and modernization of North Nazimabad is getting more and more chaotic for us.#Karachi #KarachiRains #NorthNazimabad pic.twitter.com/KP5XaBR1Jg
— North Nazimabad (Karachi) (@NorthNazimabad2) July 27, 2020
Another rain and once again the same story of our #Karachi
The city has no sewers, no drainage system. Sindh government is busy in celebrating birthday’s or introducing Ajrak Masks 😷#karachirain pic.twitter.com/wQMuBP6eY1
— amna raheem (@amnaraheem5) July 26, 2020
— Danyal Gilani (@DanyalGilani) July 27, 2020
Apart from cars getting damaged from broken tree branches which fell due to heavy rains, cars in Karachi were also damaged from the rainwater. If the car doesn’t move because of accumulated water, which is the situation in most cases, it can still damage the vehicle’s body and electronic components that can cost up to Rs80,000.
Shakaib Khan, an MBA from CBM running SK Motors Syndicate (SKMS), says that the level of water determines the extent of the damage. If it reaches the car floor, it can enter the vehicle and get the carpet wet. The car should be taken for interior-cleaning and the carpet washed and dried. This costs between Rs3000 and Rs4000. If it is not done, the vehicle’s floor can rust.
The rains disturb the lives of Karachiites every year. It endangers people’s lives and properties. The city administration, however, just passes the buck and pushes the city’s drainage crisis under the carpet.
A car enthusiast since childhood, Shakaib was shortlisted for Shell Tameer Awards in 2012 for his SKMS initiative, which provided car repair and other upgradation services at people’s doorstep. Shakaib now mostly focusses on luxury and sports cars like Mazda RX8, Nissan 350Z etc. However, he occasionally can’t turn down requests from friends and family when their cars like Wagon R, Honda City or Corolla need repair.
He explained that imported 660cc engine sized cars have their eco-idle components placed under the seats. If the water level out of the car increases a little over floor level, it can damage the vehicle with the repair work costing up to Rs50,000.
“I have just seen such a case during this ongoing monsoon season,” he said. Last year, Suzuki launched Pakistan’s first 660cc Alto car. Imported Japanese cars like Mira, Wagon R, Alto and Days are all 660cc.
If the water reaches till half of the bonnet, it can damage the electronic fuel pump inside the fuel tank. At this level, it can damage cars like Civic, City and Corolla.
When the bonnet is submerged, the ECU of almost all cars gets damaged. This can cost an owner from Rs15,000 to up to Rs80,000, depending on the car.
Hybrid like Aqua and Prius have multiple ECUs. One ECU of these vehicles can cost up to Rs80,000 if it gets damaged due to water accumulation, Shakaib said.
He added that the ECU of Civic-X can cost up to Rs50,000, but ECUs of most other cars ike that of City, Corolla, Alto, Wagon R cost between Rs15,000 and Rs30,000.
Cars with a low ground clearance (low underbelly), especially sports cars and luxurious sedans, like Mark-X, are in the danger zone during rains in Karachi, he said.
Hasan, a car mechanic who is also known by acquaintances as “foreman” at his shop on Tariq Road, said that a lot of people come to have their wheel bearings changed, which can cost up to Rs10,000, depending on the car.
“I normally turn down requests from regular customers when they complain about a humming sound and want it to be sorted out during the rainy season. It comes because of wheel bearings and if I change them, it may again get damaged. So, I ask them to wait for the rainy season to end,” he said.
Accumulated water damages motorcycles too, but the expenses aren’t as much. When the water level reaches the engine of a motorcycle, it can get into the plug if grease has not been applied generously after anticipating rains. The body of the motorcycle also gets rusted.
Abbas has an income of approximately Rs40,000. He has delayed spending Rs15,000 to get his Honda City’s ECU replaced so he can spend on his sacrificial animal to celebrate Eidul Azha.
How to claim insurance if rain damages your car?
Samaa Digital spoke to Yasir Zaidi, the senior executive vice president of Jubilee Insurance. He said that if a car is damaged, it should be left on the spot and a surveyor of the insurance company should be called immediately to evaluate the damage. If the car is moved from the place of incident, it will be difficult to launch a claim. If it starts again, there will be no claim.