Car Tips and Tricks

How To Spot Flood Damage on a Used Vehicle

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1. Rust In Unusual Places

Car manufacturers only rust proof areas that are likely to be exposed to the elements so when parts of a car are submerged in water for a length of time they are susepitable to oxidation. Look for rust in places you wouldn’t expect to find it such as steering components, interior bolts and screws and inside the boot.

2. Mold

If fabric materials such as carpeting, floor mats and seats become soaked in flood water they are likely to have all sorts of organisms growing inside the cloth and foam. An easy way to spot this is by looking for mold growing inside of the vehicle.

3. Bad Odours

Flood water is usually quite dirty as it picks up nasty things from the streets and swirls it all together into a muddy cocktail. If a vehicle has been in a flood then all this dirty water would have soaked into the carpets, seats, and enter hidden crevices on the vehicle. While the seats and carpets are easy enough to clean there are places on vehicles that are impossible to reach and clean so as the dirty water dries it leaves disgusting odours that last for weeks or even months.

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4. Damage Underneath Carpeting

This is one of the best tips for spotting water damage because it’s a hidden spot that most people wouldn’t clean up or know to check. It may not be possible to look under the carpet on some cars but if it is then you should always take a peak and look out for rust, water debris or even a flood line.

5. Water Filled Lights

Lighting units can easily fill up with water if the vehicle has been submerged so if you find the lights are full of water during your inspection then walk away.

6. Water Lines Or Marks

While you are examining the vehicle you should always check for any water lines or marks which are a sure sign it was in a flood. These lines are most noticiable in the engine bay, on carpets, seats, door panels and in the boot.

7. Replaced or Removed Drain Plugs

Certain parts of a car like the doors and floor pans have drain plugs that are designed to release any water build up so check to see if these have been removed or replaced. If they have, its a sign you are looking at a flood damaged car.

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8. Take it to a Trusted Mechanic For An Inspection

If you are unsure if the vehicle has been in a flood then take it to a mechanic you trust. A good one can easily spot any signs of flood damage.

Can It Be Fixed?

Flood damage can be repairable in some cases, but it depends on the severity of the damage and the type of repairs needed. If a car has been partially submerged in water, there may be damage to the engine, transmission, electronics, and other components that can be difficult and expensive to repair.

If the floodwater was relatively shallow and the car was quickly dried out and inspected, it may be possible to repair some of the damage. For example, the carpets and seats may need to be replaced, and the engine and transmission may need to be flushed and lubricated. However, it is important to note that even if the car appears to be functioning normally after a flood, there may be hidden damage that can cause problems down the line.

In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace the car rather than attempting to repair flood damage. It is important to have a qualified mechanic inspect the car thoroughly before making any repair or replacement decisions, as flood damage can have serious safety implications if not properly addressed. Additionally, it is important to be aware that flood damage can affect a car’s resale value, even if it has been repaired.

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