Flooding happens every so often, and if we’re not careful, we may fall victim to flooding, even when it has passed. We’re talking about buying a car or vehicle that has been subjected to flood damage once before. Most flood damaged cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles are not allowed to be sold as new, and most are sent to a salvage yard. However, if you’re not careful and do not know what to look out for, they’ll be cleaned up and put back into the auto market and car dealerships. Unsuspecting buyers will fall for an unbelievable deal, when in fact they are buying a damaged car. Read on to find out what you should look for before you buy a car. Being aware of flood damaged car characteristics will save you the headache of dealing with all the costly maintenance and modifications that will need to be done.
Keep in mind that water leaves damage that simply put, can’t be undone. First of all, look for old water marks inside the vehicle, this can mostly be visible if you look carefully at dome light and other lights on the car. When you open the glove compartment, pop the trunk, or console, any sign of dampness or water mark is a tell tall sign that the vehicle has undergone some flood damage. If the surface has any trace of gritty sand, this indicates residue leftover from a flood. You can also look for signs of rust on any metal part of the car, and especially under the hood. Sliding your hands under the car seats and checking for moisture may also help you determine if the car is actually “new” or not.
Secondly, smell is something that is hard to mask, especially when you’re familiar with “new car smell”. Traces of mildew-like, sour, and unpleasant soil-smelling scent are a red flag. There is a high chance that if a car has been sitting in a pool of flood water, that mold will grow. Throw in humidity and you have a winning recipe for mold, which is both toxic for your health, and for the longevity of the car.
Also, water damage also causes the interior components like floor mats to be replaced. If you notice that some carpeting looks brand new, or too new for the vehicle you’re buying, is mismatched, and seem out of place with all the other carpeting components in the car you’re looking to purchase, be very weary. Question the mismatch and new carpeting because they might have been replaced due to flood waters.
Always go for a test drive. Make sure you pay particular attention to the electrical system of the car, which is the first system to malfunction during flooding. All electrical parts in the vehicle should be working properly… this means dash lights, audio system, clocks, and gauges too.