How to Bail Out of a Flooded 1998 Dodge Neon

Has your car turned into a Swampmobile? Do you need to roll your pant legs up to your knees and drive barefoot whenever you go anywhere? Sounds like you've got 3 inches (7.6 cm) of standing water in your car since the stupid thing has a mysterious leak. Time to... bail it out!


  1. 1
    Take a deep breath and realize that things, while soggy now, will eventually be OK.
  2. 2
    Try your best to determine where the leak is coming from. This is best accomplished by getting in your car while it is raining and twisting yourself into complicated shapes in an effort to get your ear closest to the sound of dripping water.
  3. 3
    If you are driving a 1998 Dodge Neon, let me tell you, the leak is coming from a cracked/missing gasket over the left taillight. To really make things cool, the water is leaking in and secretly traveling flume-style between your trunk lining and the metal outside of your car. It reaches the car floor, in the backseat, and then soaks UP through the carpet, leaving you to wonder for months how the floor was getting wet without any windows, doors or seats being wet also.
  4. 4
    Go to a service station with a car vacuum, spend a couple of dollars and suck out all the water.
  5. 5
    Find something to bail with. Try a red plastic Dixie cup, the kind preferred by 4 out of 5 fraternity social committees.
  6. 6
    Situate your car so that gravity helps you. Find a nice looking hill and park there so all the water sloshes to the back and accumulates, making it easier to bail.
  7. 7
    Remove all floor carpets and hang somewhere to dry. You'll want to wash/Febreze these to ward off Dreaded Swamp Odors.
  8. 8
    Start scooping up the water with your bailing device. Continue as necessary until your car is no longer a cesspool.
  9. 9
    You may need to repeat Step 7 a few times, if the water continues to leak, or, if the water needs more time to soak back up through the carpet of your cute, but quickly-getting-less-cute 1998 Dodge Neon.
  10. 10
    When your car looks dry... it isn't. Place old ratty towels on the floor to help soak up the rest of the water. It also makes your car more inhabitable until the carpet actually dries.
  11. 11
    Buy stock in Febreze, then buy it by the case-load. The last thing you want is residual Dreaded Swamp Odor.
  12. 12
    Enjoy your dry(ish) car and get that damn leaky gasket fixed.


  • Finally, opening the trunk, putting a towel in the grooves then closing the trunk (pinching the towel in) may also help.
  • During the actual rainstorm, it is helpful to put trash bags on top of your trunk in an effort to divert water away from the leaky taillight gasket.
  • Also, you may find it helpful to stuff a towel into the back left corner of your trunk to help soak up water.


  • Your Swampmobile may be teeming with animal life. Treat all tadpoles and newts with care; what goes around, comes around.
  • Your car's damp carpets may prove fertile turf for plants. No joke. This has happened. Plants growing in a car.
  • As your car is drying, crack a window or two. Not only will it help with Dreaded Swamp Odors, but it will keep it from getting too humid in there. I don't know about your car, but on a 1998 Dodge Neon, the steering wheel material starts to deteriorate and turn into sticky goo if it's too humid inside.

Things You'll Need

  • A car with a leak problem.
  • An unfortunate rainstorm.
  • A bailing device.
  • A good sense of humor.
  • Some patience.
  • Some frustration.
  • Lots of Febreze.

Article Info

Categories: Defensive Driving Skills & Safety