I drove my Saab 9-5 Aero turbo four automatic through standing water during a heavy rain and as I drove out of the puddle the engine died and wouldn't start back up. I pushed the car over to the side of the street and left it overnight. The next morning I got it started after several tries and drove it across town. The motor kind of sputtered and didn't have normal power. Later I drove back home and the check engine light came on. The motor is running smoother but still dogs down when I try to accelerate and the check engine light is still on. What do you suggest I do? Is there anything I can do to fix the situation myself or do I just need to give it more time to dry out? Is this something that a repair shop will have to correct and if so is it going to cost me a bundle? Thanks Dave
Power loss after splahing through water puddle on 2002 Saab 9-5
by dadio51 in Springfield, MO on November 25, 2010
1 answer 4 comments
ANSWER by DaveJHM on November 25, 2010
Sounds like you may have gotten some water into your air box. I would suggest that you should remove your air cleaner lid, and remove your air filter. Dry out everything there, and in your air tube. I do not know how far water may have traveled, but you could have further issues. The check engine light is probably related to this issue - it will need checked likely as "drying out" probably won't fix it. Not entirely sure how much it may cost, due to not knowing the extent of the suspected water ingestion. Good luck!
COMMENT by dadio51 on November 25, 2010
Wow, thanks for the quick response. We will take your advice at once and try to dry out the air box and filter. I read on another forum that you could disconnect your battery and then hook it back up and the check engine light would be reset. Is that correct or do you have to take it to a mechanic? I also heard you can go to your local AutoZone and they will hook up their diagnostics to the car's computer and decipher the codes. If it shows a code that is related to water in the air box will they reset the light? Thanks again, Dave
COMMENT by DaveJHM on November 26, 2010
Disconnecting the battery for a time will wipe out the codes, and is one way to reset the check engine light, but only until the processor gets operating again and determines that same fault has returned. It is not likely for your check engine light to be caused by something that will fix itself. Local parts stores do often read codes for free, but codes by themselves will not answer what is wrong with the car. Only interpretation of the code and pin point testing based on the facts of your situation coupled with the code reported will reach a conclusion as to what needs to be done. Water in the air box is not a cause of the light. Rather, fouling out of your mass air flow sensor, or wiring damage, or another air intake issue -- or perhaps something completely different -- is what made your light come on. The water may be the culprit, but the actual failure and repair needed will be beyond drying out the box. I imagine that AutoZone would reset your light. Just approach your situation as something you will need to take step by step, and do not anticipate a quick and easy fix overall. Hopefully, however, your situation ends up being fairly simple indeed in the end, and not as terrible as the very possible circumstance you appeared to avoid: damage to the engine internally from water ingestion. Best of luck!
COMMENT by dadio51 on November 28, 2010
Thanks, I actually did exactly what you suggested and then took it to AutoZone to check the codes. They said the "mass airflow sensor" was still showing an error so he said take it apart and dry it all out, then he erased (he said not supposed to) the code for me. I took the car home and dried out the MAS now everything seems fine. Is there anyway to keep this from happening again? Where is the air intake actually located? It seems like a poor design to me. Thanks again for all your help. dadio51
COMMENT by DaveJHM on November 28, 2010
Exactly as expected; good for you that the sensor contacts are not damaged by the water. If the light returns, you may need to replace the MAF, as they are very sensative. The design -- every newer car draws air from the front of the car, has it come through the air box, has a MAF sensor that measures the air coming in, and then the air goes to the intake. It's just the way the air comes in. Most all cars are not made to drive through standing water for that reason. Trucks are higher up and can tolerate more snow and water, but low cars like yours cannot. Glad things worked out for you.