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5 Signs of Flood Damaged Vehicles

In a season hard-hit with tropical storms and hurricanes, the potential sale of flood damaged vehicles is on the rise. Here are some ways you can identify used cars that have been damaged by flood water.

    1. Inspect the carpet
      You may not be able to tell from the exterior of the used car you are considering, but the interior, specifically the carpeting, can speak volumes. Pull the carpet up and look underneath it. Do you see any stain marks that are clearly not the result of air conditioning leaks?
    2. Musky smell
      Almost a dead giveaway you are looking at a flood damaged vehicle is a musty smell—or a mildew scent. Something’s rotten in Denmark, as they say. Run. Run very far away from that used vehicle if you are hit with this pungent aroma.
    3. Signs of rust
      The presence of interior rusting can be a good indication the car you are considering is one of the flood damaged vehicles. Where to look? Under the carpet, around electrical wiring, and screws.
    4. Check for hidden mud or grit
      Additional evidence of water damage is found in mud or grit under the dashboard and carpet and in the trunk. Grit, dirt and sand may also appear in the crevices of the engine compartment so be sure to check under the hood as well.
    5. Shampooed carpet
      Another way to conceal water damage in a vehicle is to shampoo it. Be sure to check to see how freshly shampooed the carpet of the car you’re inspecting is. This one is a little tougher considering it’s normal to wash and condition of all used vehicles prior to a sale, not just flood damaged vehicles.

What else can you do to prevent buying a flood-damaged vehicle?
For starters, you can ask for the vehicle history report. You can also access important vehicle history information by checking the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTS). This database is a resource consumers can use to protect themselves from fraudulent activity when shopping for used vehicles.


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