How do you know that used car has not been in a flood?

Some time has gone by now since hurricane Sandy has come and gone, and the numbers are staggering as to how many cars were lost due to flood damage. The numbers you see out there are around 23000  cars that were lost or considered totaled due to being completely submerged in water. With all the buzz going on about this I thought that I would put in my two cents on the subject.   There are tell-tale signs of water damage, perhaps the car may smell musty, or moldy or it may even smell like the interior has had ten containers of carpet fresh dumped in it that will only temporarily cover up that smell. The other issue is not just if the vehicle will be dependable or not from flood damage. The question is what kind of water was it flooded with? If the car was considered a total loss from hurricane Sandy and was right on the coast line, it would likely have been consumed by salty sea water. The other question would be was there bacteria infested waste water mixed in with it?  Well you might say to yourself ,”why not just replace the carpet”? It would be nice if it were just that easy, but there are many other factors to consider. If the vehicle was submerged in water laden with bacteria it obviously contaminated the ventilation system. How would you like all that bacteria blowing in your face? Another big factor is water damage that all electrical components and control units sustain when submerged under water, they usually cannot be saved but sometimes it is possible if it was done correctly.  What if a car was in a flood and someone did not want to claim it on their insurance? What if they decided they would fix the car themselves? It is possible that someone mechanically inclined enough could pull it off enough to sell the car and rid themselves of a future problem car. What  that means to you is you might not find it in the Car Fax. Car Fax is a good service and I recommend it , but if an incident is not reported it won’t likely show up in the Car Fax report.  The biggest problem would be the cost for the amount of labor involved with fixing any of these cars, not to mention the parts. What do you think the chances that one of these vehicles could end up in front of you for sale? It is definitely possible because it happened after hurricane Katrina. So what can you do about it? Here are some tell tale signs to look out for.

  1. Moldy smell,or heavy smell of deodorizers  trying to cover up that moldy smell.
  2. Pull up the cover over the spare tire well area and look for signs of water staining.
  3. Look for unusual spots or areas that rust is starting to grow, it happens quickly with sea water.
  4. Look for salvage tags, in the drivers front “A” pillar or door jamb area.
  5. Have a Car Fax run if you are seriously considering buying any used car.
  6. Make sure everything works, and there are no warning lamps on.
  7. Make sure that all warning lamps work with key on engine off during bulb check.
  8. Have your mechanic look the car over closely if you have any doubt.
  9. Check the color of all of the fluids, and make sure none of them look “Milky.”
  10. Check to make sure the car has a clean title.Flooded car 1


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