Confused Car Mechanic Looking Under the Hood of a Car

How Do You Start Your Vehicle if the Engine Floods?

What Do You Do if Your Engine Floods?

We have all heard the horror stories that friends have told about flooded engines, flat tires, smoking engines and everything else under the sun. We have heard all the stories and we hope and pray these failures don’t happen to us. In the event that they do, it is important to know how to react and what the proper course of action may be, whether that is calling the Downeast Toyota Service Department or taking care of it yourself. A common question our service technicians get asked is — what do you do if your engine floods? Take a closer look at why this happens and how to best address the situation.

How Does Your Engine Get Flooded?

A more common mechanical ailment for cars that employ a carburetor rather than fuel injection, a flooded engine occurs when your engine is overcome with too much fuel. This happens when there is a disproportionate mixture of fuel and air and will typically occur when you hit the gas too hard or pump the accelerator too much when starting your car. Vehicles that employ fuel injection like the 2016 Toyota Camry will see this happen most often when in extreme cold.

READ MORE: Why is Your Toyota Check Engine Light On?

How Do You Know if Your Engine is Flooded?

Blonde Female Mechanic Giving the Thumbs Up When looking Under the Hood of a CarWhen you turn the ignition and your vehicle fails to turn over, it can be a strong indicator that your engine may be flooded. If you cannot hear your engine starting to turn over or it is completely dead and accompanied by a strong gasoline scent, chances are you have flooded your engine. Another indicator is dark smoke from your vehicle’s exhaust system. If you see these tell-tale signs, don’t make anymore attempts to start your car — it may make things worse.

How to Start an Engine After it is Flooded?

Perhaps the best remedy for a flooded engine is time. Simply open the hood of your car and let excessive fuel evaporate for as long as you can. After about 20 minutes try starting your car again without hitting the gas pedal. If this still does not work, you may have to check your spark plugs. When excess fuel floods the engine, it can soak spark plugs, making them incapable of creating enough of a spark to start the engine. If you find that your engine floods frequently, you may want to check your fuel injectors and run some fuel injector cleaner.

When you are troubleshooting a flooded engine, the end goal is to establish the correct fuel to air ratio. Another thing you can try to make this happen, is to hold the gas pedal to the floor and repeatedly attempt to restart the engine. Do not pump the gas pedal. This method will hold the throttle open, introducing more air into the engine to balance out the excess fuel. When the engine starts, release the gas pedal and let it run for a few minutes. Should this method fail, it may be time to schedule a service appointment with our expert service technicians at Downeast Toyota.

READ MORE: What Are the Proper Synthetic Oil Change Intervals for Your Toyota?

Not everyone who drives a car is a mechanic, though that does not mean you can’t have an understanding of how to fix potential issues or recognize them as they occur. If you have ever asked — what do you do if your engine floods — this brief overview should break it down for you. In the case that you find yourself facing this issue often, it may be time for a new vehicle. Take some time to explore the Downeast Toyota inventory. We have something for everyone, including the redesigned and ultra-efficient 2016 Toyota Prius.