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Official maximum water level to drive through(slowly)

Official maximum water level to drive through(slowly)

Spring is coming in Illinois; that means I'm going to be driving through water.
I am NOT talking about fording rivers (standing water in a subdivision), and certainly not driving in speeds in excess of 5MPH.
In previous years, I have had to drive though 8-10 inches of water for about 1000ft. to get out of my subdivision. This happens about 3 times per year.

1. I drive this road every day.
2. This is the ONLY road in or out of my subdivision. I cannot choose an alternate route.
3. Three times per year it floods to a depth of 8-10 inches. I have measured.
4. My 2011 Buick Lucerne could drive through it ( I never exceeded 2-3 miles per hour)
5. Buick manual DID state that water depth should not be deep enough to block the air intake.
6. When the floods occur, it stays for 2 days.
7. I know to tap the breaks after driving though water.
8. The water is standing still. No perceptible movement.

I cannot find official mention of safe water levels that the Model 3 can "regularly" drive through.

Anybody have this information that I have probably missed?

EVRider | April 17, 2019

How do you know how deep the water is before you drive through it? You don’t— so don’t do it.

LostInTx | April 17, 2019

Yea, well, if you drive in the same subdivision every day and there's water on the road, looking at the curb on either side will determine the depth of the water. I don't think he's talking about going under a highway underpass.

So back to reality. @cshenderson, I live in Houston, where it occasionally rains. I've gone through a couple of storms, also leaving the subdivision, and have navigated about 250 feet of water about 6 inches deep. Not a problem so far. The battery is supposed to be well sealed but as we know, the brakes getting wet can cause a problem when you exit the high water, at least until they dry out (tapping them helps).

I went from a Toyota Tundra to a Model 3 so yea, I had some trepidation with high water even before I bought the car. So far, so good.

RedPillSucks | April 17, 2019

Official??? Does any auto manufacturer publish such a thing (with the possibly exception of land rover)??

Bighorn | April 17, 2019
Rt002k | April 17, 2019

@Bighorn - yeah, but did the back bumper stay on?

lordmiller | April 17, 2019

Technically you should be able to go under water in a Tesla!

wiboater4 | April 17, 2019

There was a you tube video from a guy who took two junked Tesla's and made one good one. One was flood damaged and the motors did get water into the electonics and were inoperable. Those were model S maybe they are better now but I'd be careful. That car was probably submerged for a while also.

It would be nice to have some guide line like your asking about though.

ReD eXiLe ms us | April 17, 2019

If you cannot see the ground at an intersection, do not proceed through it in ANY vehicle.

Chicago Tribune | Tips for navigating flooded roadways
https://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/chi-driving-through...

"Only six inches of water can be enough to stall your car and cause irreparable damage to the engine."

"The best advice is don't do it."

" One foot of water can be enough to dislodge a car from the surface and cause it to begin to float away, according to FEMA. In 2012 the National Weather Service launched the “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”campaign because more deaths occur from flooding than any other severe weather-related hazard, and over half of the deaths are from vehicles driving into floodwaters."

http://www.ready.gov/floods
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/water/tadd/tadd-intro.shtml

slingshot18 | April 17, 2019

You don't HAVE to drive through water. You can stop or turn around.

derotam | April 17, 2019

@lordmiller, not really since Tesla does not say anything about the motor being sealed.

lordmiller | April 17, 2019

I was joking derotam. It would be fun to try though.

coleAK | April 17, 2019

So I have a lot of experience driving through water. Humvees in service. Owned: land cruisers (snorkeled J60, 80, and an (not snorkeled) LX570), and a MB g wagon. Really your asking for trouble much deeper than mid hub on any vehicle. And even if you know the road driving out of your sub division you don’t know what could be lurking under water. Also I just measured and at 11” your at the lower door seal, around 12-16” you probably submerged the motors, and at 17” it’s in the cabin for sure. My g500 was double sealed doors, I had it to the handles a few times and got lnlot of seepage into the cabin. All that said personally I wouldn’t take our model 3 through more than 4-6” of STANDING water.

tomasrey88 | April 17, 2019

The batteries are "supposed" to be waterproof, BUT they aren't. Watch "rich rebuilds" on Youtube and you will see him rebuild a flood salvaged Tesla. He clearly shows water draining out of a battery.

I would listen to coleAK if I were you.

Bighorn | April 17, 2019

It's probably like a watch i.e water resistant vs waterproof. We certainly don't worry about driving in the rain with puddles on the road, but I wouldn't trust the battery to a dunk tank.

derotam | April 17, 2019

Hey, some people around here would be dead serious trying to say that. haha

kevin_rf | April 18, 2019

I think I went through to much water this morning, think I should head over to the service center?

https://youtu.be/UGSA7etztlg

bpaul | April 18, 2019

One caution I've heard from others on here is that traveling through water can tear the undercarriage open. I think one said that the undercarriage, once open, would catch water and moving forward would essentially "load" water into the vehicle.

Take a look at threads you can find here: https://www.google.com/search?q=undercarriage+site%3Aforums.tesla.com&rl...

cshenderson | April 18, 2019

Thank you coleAK, you were the most helpful. I was hoping to get an official take from someone at Tesla in the know.

I'll just restate to see if this happens.

1. I drive this road every day.
2. This is the ONLY road in or out of my subdivision. I cannot choose an alternate route.
3. Three times per year it floods to a depth of 8-10 inches. I have measured.
4. My 2011 Buick Lucerne could drive through it ( I never exceeded 2-3 miles per hour)
5. Buick manual DID state that water depth should not be deep enough to block the air intake.
6. When the floods occur, it stays for 2 days.
7. I know to tap the breaks after driving though water.
8. The water is standing still. No perceptible movement.

So, I (hopefully ask again), what if anything does Tesla say about this?

Magic 8 Ball | April 18, 2019

There is no evidence of anyone from TESLA participating in these forums, you are asking in the wrong place if you want an answer from TESLA.

cshenderson | April 18, 2019

LostInTx.. somehow I missed your reply. Thank you for the feedback!

cshenderson | April 18, 2019

Magic 8 Ball. Oh. well..crap. Thanks.

Magic 8 Ball | April 18, 2019

If you get an answer from TESLA please post back, inquiring minds would like to know. It really is a difficult question to answer unless you are talking standing water with zero car movement. Once you start factoring in movement there are other variables that come into play as to how much surrounding water depth can damage the car (I.E. an oncoming car kicking up a 3 ft wave, car going straight vs cornering, etc.).

BTW, 15 mph is pretty fast through water. I know it is highly unlikely in your circumstance but should you encounter a hidden obstacle, just sayn' ; ).

LostInTx | April 18, 2019

@cshenderson, you're welcome and @coleAK offers good advice. It's a big world and obviously, some people seldom deal with, you know, rain, but in Houston, if you're not ready to drive through 3-5 inches of water, you'll be working from home more than the boss likely allows. The people who die, or worse, ruin their car, do so because they're driving into what looks like high tide. When people are fishing 3rd Avenue, yea, don't drive and if ducks are scampering out of your way, sure, it's time to turn around. And of course you're speaking specifically of your own subdivision, which because you drive through on a daily basis, isn't suddenly going to develop waterfalls.

We had a decent storm overnight and this morning, I drove my Model 3 through maybe 3 inches of water for about 50 yards. At 3 MPH, it seemed like forever but on the other end, my brakes squeaked for 30 seconds, then I was done. A bayou is gonna do what a bayou is gonna do. So be careful, know the street, drive slow and maybe toss in a Hail Mary.

cshenderson | April 18, 2019

Magic 8 Ball Yes, I don't know why I typed 15MPH. It really is 2-3MPH.....or less. And only one car goes at a time since the other side of the street is more than 12 inches. Nobody would go in the opposite direction for long. AT least 1 dead car per year.
When I did have an ICE car, I had to disconnect my air scoop to get though there.

Earl and Nagin ... | April 18, 2019

I always walk a river before fording unless I'm extremely familiar with it. I know how far up my boots (or leg) I feel the vehicle can handle. Normally, this would be the axle point unless I know the car is good for higher with a snorkel or high air intake, and lowest electrical is particularly high.
The air intake for most vehicles today is inside the wheel well, making it a very bad place in water.
I haven't forded more than a small puddle in a Tesla though and mine will have to depreciate a lot before I even consider trying.

patrick40363 | April 18, 2019

Move.

coleAK | April 19, 2019

@cshenderson, Your welcome. I can tell you all a model 3 will not go through 18” of fresh untracked snow (but neither would our MB e 4matic or Subaru Legacy). I had to drive my wife to work this AM in my LX on 34’s.

RedPillSucks | April 19, 2019

@cshenderson You're simply not going to get anything official, from ANY car manufacturer, unless its something like the original HumVee or a LandRover.

-TheJohn- | April 19, 2019

I've no clue about official but.. This touches on my only complaint about our M3. I drove it through approximately 4 inches of water at 10-15 mph and the resulting fun fountain of water caused the undercarriage protectors to detach in both front and back in three separate places in the front and one in the back. Nearly two months later I'm still waiting on replacements which also lets you know how urgent they and I are taking the problem.
The Ranger told me that they started using different undercarriage parts soon after mine was (59k vin) made so your results may vary.

suddled | April 19, 2019

Honestly I would start with having your city or local authority fix the streets! Continually allowing dangerous driving conditions for its residents doesn't seem safe. Just a thought.

Brian B | April 19, 2019

@LostInTX "The people who die, or worse, ruin their car..."

Funniest thing I've read in a while.

jeremy.sampson | September 20, 2019

@LostinTx recent flooding around the houston area has force me to drive though a few inches of water in the neighborhood, have you had any long term effects from driving though a few inches of water at very low speed?