Car Flood Damage

How To Know If You Are Buying A Car Damaged By Flood

You are never sure of what you might get when purchasing a used vehicle. If things work in your favor, a used vehicle report should be available for your car. Sometimes, these things can be outdated. To avoid accidentally purchasing a lemon, it s key to know how to evaluate the vehicle yourself to detect minor flaws or major damage. These are some things which may help discover if a car has been flood damaged.

Steps to Spot a Flood Damaged Car

Step 1: Check for any debris or signs of moisture. There will be physical signs of water damage in a car that has been in a flood. Carefully examine the car for wetness and debris on the auto s exterior and interior - these can be signs of flood damage. Looking at the headlights carefully will reveal if there is water on the inside of them. Make sure you check everything out including the glove compartment as well as under the floor mats. The flood may have penetrated the engine, and you ll want to check under the hood to see if it has. Some signs that your car has been damaged by a flood include water, dirt or rust underneath the hood.

Step 2: Smell the car thoroughly. The smell may be the first sign you are looking at a flood-damaged car. If flood waters have covered the vehicle for any period of time, the interior will reek of mold and mildew. Carpet and upholstery take quite a long time to dry, as damage of this sort is slow to fix. A musty smell can permeate the interior of the car and cling to fabrics. Reconsider the purchase if something about the car doesn’t seem right. The damaged was probably caused in a flood.

Step 3: Look around for repairs and or replacements. Salespeople have been known to try to hide damaged aspects of a car. Be observant of any out of place items in the car, such as different fabric and upholstery, parts, or other interior details. The new parts will be obvious to detect because they will be clean and shiny against the old interior parts.

If a used car is offered with an  all-new interior , remember the saying "Caveat Emptor".

Step 4: Take a quick drive. The fastest way to determine whether your car has flood damage is to start it. Check each component of the electrical system for proper functioning and no liquid oozing out of the vents or gaps. Drive the car to make sure that everything is working fine. If not, it s possible that the vehicle was previously damaged in a flood.

Step 5: Hire a licensed auto technician to examine the vehicle. In the event that you lack faith in your own opinion, take the car to your mechanic for an inspection. If flood damage is detected by a mechanic, the vehicle s warranty will be automatically voided (if the vehicle is still under warranty). Before buying a pre-owned vehicle, this is certainly something to keep in mind. Regardless of the apparent newness of the vehicle, have a professional double-check to make sure it hasn t been flood-damaged and that the warranty period has not expired.

Step 6: Obtain a history report of the vehicle. Purchasing a Carfax vehicle history report can provide an added layer of protection against inadvertently purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle. The only thing you need is the VIN (or vehicle identification number) for a thorough record of any wrecks the vehicle was involved in as well as repairs or recalls. Please note that a Carfax report can t guarantee to list all the damage that has happened to a car. A series of title changes may be an indication that previous owners have moved the car through various states in an attempt to conceal the severe damage the car has suffered. Occasionally, repair jobs are not picked up by Carfax due to changeovers with titles. It s a good idea to sign up for a Carfax report, but be sure to use other sources of information as well when determining whether or not the vehicle has suffered flood damage.

Chuck Kosmider writes about buying cars and other car tips as a staff writer for