A hydrostatic lock is uncommon, but with the UK's present temperamental weather, it could happen to any car. Hydro-locking is a small amount of water seeping into an engine and ruining it beyond repair. Any engine can have a hydrostatic lock not just cars, for example, a boat, ship, jet ski, motorbike and more. Hydro in Greek is related to watering, which is why we have the term hydro-lock.
Engine hydrostatic lock explained
Ask any mechanic and you will find most have never come across a hydrostatic lock engine. This is how rare it is, but do not be fooled, especially in rainy seasons. Motorists think they can drive through flooded areas without any consequences, however, all it takes is a couple of inches of water for an engine to hydrostatically lock.
On even rarer occasions, rainfall can seep into an engine when the bonnet is up. Should your car fail to start on a very rainy day, you must never open the bonnet, leave this to the AA, or to another professional technician. Prolonged rainwater in an engine can corrode internal parts, which if left too long it can cause rusty bands. Naturally, this would have to be rectified and is a unnecessary costly job.
Generally, engines are sealed up quite well, but when we have torrential rainfalls or floods, water can deluge an engine. Once this happens your engine will seize, which means you need to either say good-bye to your car of have an engine replacement. Sadly, engine replacements can be very costly and rebuilding may not be possible, especially if the inside components have been totally destroyed. A new car may be your only option, which is pretty tragic considering the flooding could have so easily been avoided.
A hydrostatic lock engine can also be a result of any type of liquid, not just water. Liquids such as coolant, fuel or oil can prevent pistons performing their full cycle and bring a car to complete halt. Pistons need to complete an up and down stroke, if their performance is prevented due to liquid, they will slam into a hydrolock. Only gas is compressible in a cylinder, which is why liquid prevents pistons moving upwards and the engine turning over.
A hydrostatic lock can have brutal consequences on an engine when a car is in motion. Piston rods could lead to being deformed, a malformed crankshaft, cracks in the crankcase, wipe out the head, splinter bearings and much more.
A hydrostatic lock can have fewer consequences on an engine when a car is idling. The inside components should not be damaged, therefore the engine could be rebuilt. A professional would remove the spark plugs and crank it to allow the liquid to spill out. Once everything is reassembled the car should turn over as normal.