Experts issue warning to those who drove in Napier flooding as hundreds of cars written off

As the waters subsided in Napier last week, a flood of insurance claims began for vehicle damage.

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It has prompted a warning for those who might think they got away damage free. Source: 1 NEWS

Warehouses and yards around Napier are filling up with cars that fell victim to Napier's floods.

Steve Karatau from Trade Towage told 1 NEWS there will be hundreds more out there.

"As of the date this morning we have done 347 from memory and they predict probably 500 to 600 all up, so there are still a lot of vehicles to be uplifted," he says.

Last week's torrential rain hit in peak hour traffic. Commuters had to navigate deep waters on the route home.

Wade Colville-Smith of Motordrome Napier says some will have flooded their engines.

"When it goes into the engine, it goes into the cylinders and causes it to hydraulic," he says.

"The cylinders can't compress the water so it causes the rods or bearings to become damaged."

Abandoned cars line footpaths waiting to be collected.

AA Insurance's Simon Hobbs says they alone have already lodged 250 motor claims.

"I think we're about 96 per cent of total losses at the moment. When cars get that wet it's just really unsafe to repair them."

With damp carpets and rusty brakes, Katie Biggs' trusty Mazda will be added to the growing list.

"This has been my favourite and reliable little beast so I'm really gutted if it's going to go," she says.

Even if your car is still running, if it's received some water damage the advice is to get it checked out as there may be damage to some safety features.

Mechanics are worried about air bags and brake systems. 

"If you continue to use the car and it's had water inside the ABD system, your braking system is no longer working as it should," Colville-Smith says.

The AA doesn't recommend driving in water above 10 centimetres deep.

"When you're driving through flood water, you're pushing the water away from your vehicle and that can force [it] into properties," Hobbs says.

"Please stop the vehicle, either wait for the water to subside or just leave your car somewhere dry and come back to it later."

The average pay out to customers has been more than $10,000, with the full insurance cost of the event still weeks away.