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Does That Car Have Flood Damage?

Posted in Buying a Car
July 21st 2015 by
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With the rise of more natural disasters, you want to be sure that the car you are purchasing has not been damaged in a flood.  Unfortunately, sellers are trying to get away with selling flood-damaged cars to unsuspecting buyers.

After Hurricane Sandy, there was a large concern about cars being sold that had been damaged in flooded areas.  In more recent months, the trend has continued after storms touched down in places such as Texas and Oklahoma.  Now many, people are falling victim to scammers looking to make money off of these natural disasters.

However, there are some tips to keep in mind that can help you spot one of these cars.

Flood-Damaged Vehicles Can Show Up Anywhere

It does not matter what state the storm occurred in; cars damaged in Texas will still be transported to New Jersey for sale.  These “dealers” know that people who were not in the state of the storm will not expect to be sold a car that was damaged in another state.

When purchasing a used car, you should check the vehicle identification number on Carfax and the National Insurance Crime Bureau to find out whether or not the car has been in a flood.  It is most important to always have a used car checked by a reputable mechanic.

Check Under the Hood

Look inside the engine for water marks and notice whether or not the wires are brittle or flexible.

Mold Inside?

On the inside, see if there is any evidence of mold or mud and whether or not the upholstery matches.  Mismatched upholstery indicates a good chance that the car sustained water damage and the upholstery was replaced in order to hide the damage.

Pay Attention to Details

Be sure to check for rust in door hinges and trunk latches, as well as under the gas and brake pedals. Beads of water may be visible in the dome light.

Don’t forget to compare the VIN number on the dashboard to the VIN number on the door jam to ensure they match.

Test the Electrical System

The electrical and computer systems will be vulnerable in a flood-damaged car.  This will affect the lights, windshield wipers,  and locks.  You will also experience malfunctioning in the airbags and anti-lock braking systems.

Check to be sure that warning lights properly illuminate when the ignition is turned on, test the air conditioning and heat along with the wipers and turn signals.

Any defects will end up costing you more money due to unexpected repair bills in order to try to fix the problems.  You will also be facing a lower resale value because of the damages and repairs to the car. A cheaper purchase price for a car that’s potentially riddled with problems is not worth it in the long run.

Don’t Forget the Used Vehicle Checklist!

Before you go car shopping, print out this handy list to ensure you’re getting a good vehicle.


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