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The Kia Forte is a compact car produced by Kia Motors since mid-2008.

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went through a foot of water and it stopped working

My kia forte ex went through a foot of water and it stopped working how long do have to wait before I can start my car again

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Is there any water in your air filter box?


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Pull the spark plugs before you start the engine - neglecting this is a one-way ticket to a hydrolocked engine, and potentially a new car. After they’re out, start the engine until the water is out of the engine - this generally doesn’t take very long and clears out with a few full turns. HOPEFULLY you didn’t start it and damage the engine prior, because the issue is water is non-compressible, so it bends the pistons and scores the block, which basically means you cooked your engine and you're replacing it. Find the fuel pump relay and pull that to be extra sure it won't try and start things, since you just want to get the water out; not add fuel. It's usually one of the large relays and on Hyundai products is often under the hood fuse box. Some put this in the driver side fuse box, but that often tends to be things like ABS and the radio; not fuel relays.

Do this with caution (especially if the fluid has never been changed and it has 70k+ miles!) is to consider getting the tranny flushed and replacing the fluid. You need to use the Hyundai specific fluid due to these modern transmissions not being designed for universal fluid like the old school ones from 15+ years ago, especially if it went over 1-2" of flood water. The issue here is neglecting this also tends to lead to expensive (potentially totaling out the car bad) repair bills. IF IT HAS NOT BEEN CHANGED, REMOVE IT AND CHECK FOR WATER AND REUSE THE OLD FLUID. The transmission fluid is keeping it going! In fact, it may be better to not touch it in case any filtering you may do removes particles keeping it alive! Most dealers will sell it, but it's also not unheard of for it to be done by the dealer as they fill by capacity and not sell it by the bottle (blame BMW for this). If it's in the 100k+ mile range, take the chance of blowing the tranny out; the fluid is keeping it alive.

After you get the water out of the piston chambers and verify it’s no longer spitting water all over the engine bay, check the air filter for water - if it’s wet, dry it out and replace the filter - it may not hurt to remove the filter box and other parts to check it over closely if it's bad. Change the filter - it's $5-10 insurance against potentially blowing the engine.

If you do these two things, it’s generally safe to start the car and see if it’s completely dry and there’s no water left to potentially damage the engine. However, if you see anything obvious that needs attention (like wiring harness corrosion) you likely need to address that first before you do any further assessment of the damage. The initial goal is to save the engine, you can assess the rest of your car later. We don’t know which year you own, so there’s no way to point you to a service manual or technical information on what you need to try and do things like remove the spark plugs. If any water got into the chassis, expect extensive repairs as electrical damage tends to be deep and expensive in most cases but hope for the best, and it may total the car out; Hyundi/Kias are notorious depreciation machines, and it isn't hard to do.

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acholesb  it may start or it may not start for a while. YOU DON’T EVEN WANT TO TRY WITHOUT PROPER PREP. If you suspect that your engine sucked in the water, remove the plugs (as previously suggested) remove all filters as well as all the oil. Replace it with the appropriate quantity and the right grade. Then (leave the plugs out since you really do not want it to fire up) crank it over a few times. Then replace the spark plugs.

If this is due to an electrical failure (shortened out connectors etc.) you will have to trace the electrical wiring to and from your engine as well as your ECU etc. which may have gotten shortened out. As you can see there is no complete answer but it will require you to do a good troubleshooting. Let us know the exact model, year and engine size for your Forte.

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@nick should have added that to your answer. Little less talk about the interference engine etc., will make it far more specific to the question the OP is asking. :-)


@nick that interference is far more critical when you are looking at things like timing belts etc. but not specific to water immersion. Reading that part appears to make it a filler only. Hydrolock in any type of engine is never good.


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acholesb zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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