Concierge Auto Repair
Concierge Auto Repair
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How to Spot a Flooded Vehicle

How to Spot a Flooded Vehicle

How can you tell whether a car has undergone significant flood damage? Following the devastating storms that hit quite a few areas, flooded cars are now showing up on used car lots. Many of these cars should have been "totaled," but are now being sold now by people who aren't aware of their history. Here are some signs that you can use to determine whether you may be looking at a flooded vehicle.

Why Should You Avoid a Flooded Vehicle?

A flooded vehicle is almost always going to have substantial problems, depending on how bad it was flooded. If it was flooded partially, it might have been flooded with tainted water, such as sewage water. This will lead to significant health concerns if the upholstery and interior are not entirely replaced. If it was flooded up to the dashboard, the electronic components are going to have issues. If it was completely immersed, it's likely that most, if not all, parts of the vehicle were somehow impacted.

Of course, not all flooded vehicles are entirely damaged. A car could be flooded minimally and still be able to be reclaimed, especially high-value luxury cars that might be worth the investment. But in this situation, a seller will usually be aware that the car has experienced damage and will be upfront about it.

Inspection. A professional repair inspector should be called upon before you purchase any car, as they can identify damage that you can't.

What Are Signs that a Car Has Been Flooded?

  • Smell. Any hint of mold or mildew likely means that the vehicle has been flooded. Mold and mildew will often keep recurring.
  • Moisture. Press down hard on the carpet on the floor and the seats. You may find moisture lurking beneath, as it can be difficult to dry entirely.
  • Rust. Any sign of rust or corrosion on the metal is a bad sign, regardless of whether the vehicle has been flooded or not.
  • Mud. Mud and debris will often rest somewhere in a flooded vehicle. Look in nooks and crannies of the car to see if there may be more than dust.
  • Instruments. Make sure the bulbs work and everything electronic is functioning — if there are strange issues with electronics, it could be due to water.
  • CARFAX. If the car's flooding was reported to insurance at any time, it should show up on the documentation, but it doesn't always.
  • Inspection. A professional repair inspector should be called upon before you purchase any car, as they can identify damage that you can't.

Think a car that you're looking at might have been flooded? You may want to call the experts before you make the purchase. Contact Concierge Auto Repair to schedule a consultation — we can identify potential problems in a vehicle that could cost you money down the line.

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