How to Find Out If a Car Has Suffered Flood Damage?
Many Flooded Cars Sold to Unsuspecting Buyers. Every time a major storm rolls through a part of the nation, a large number of vehicles ends up suffering damage due to the flooding. Following Hurricane Irma and Harvey, hundreds of thousands of cars were flooded.
Yet, many of them are likely to end up being sold to unsuspecting used car buyers. According to CarFax, 325,000 flood-damaged cars are sitting on the used car market. This number doesn’t even include vehicles damaged as a result of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Buying a Flooded Car is a Bad Idea
Any car that has been flooded past the floor level should be considered a total loss. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop many such cars from being sold on the used car market. Flooded cars are likely to suffer from problems caused by corrosion and can have issues with their electrical systems.
Another problem is that mold and bacteria may remain in the soft parts of the vehicle. It is therefore important that you know how to spot flood-damaged cars if you’re in the market for a used vehicle. Here’s how to do it:
Check the Vehicle’s History
With the car’s VIN, you can use a service like CarFax or Experian’s Auto Check to look up the vehicle’s history. A VIN check report for a car that was totaled in a flood will contain words like “flood,” “salvage” or “rebuilt.” However, you should take note that if the vehicle wasn’t insured, the damage may never have been reported.
Check for Signs of Rust
Examine the car thoroughly, including under the hood, inside door frames and wheel wells and battery connections. Seeing excessive rust in a relatively new car is a sign it may have been flooded. Water lines, stains and excess grime in odd places are also bad signs.
Inspect the Interior for Strange Odors
Fully drying out a flooded car is very difficult. Therefore, you should carefully smell the interior of the car to see if you spot any musty or damp odors. This is a sign that a car may have been flooded.
Check the Electrical Components
Flooded cars will often have issues with electrical components. Check to make sure that the radio, exterior and interior lights, power locks and windows work properly.
Flooded cars are likely to have suffered damage that will affect their performance and can make them dangerous to operate. Any time you’re in the market for a used car, you should carefully inspect it to ensure you’re not unknowingly buying a car that has been damaged by a flood.