Always Look for These Signs of Flood Damage when Shopping for Used Cars

With thousands of cars compromised by flood damage each year, vehicles are often refurbished and resold. Sometimes a car's history is intentionally hidden and sold to an unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster. Flooded cars pose a significant safety risk for used car buyers. Always look for these signs of flood damage when shopping for used cars.

  1. Unusual odors. If a vehicle has been exposed to water for a prolonged period, there will be a musty or moldy odor inside the car. Strong air fresheners or cleaning solutions may indicate the seller is trying to cover up something. 
  2. Carpet Stains. Large stains or color variations between upper and lower upholstery may indicate that standing water was in the vehicle. Brand new upholstery in a used car can also be a sign that the seller has removed flood-damaged upholstery. 
  3. Water buildup. Moisture and fog inside the headlights or taillights are hard to remove by those looking to resell. Scrutinize the lights carefully. Also, look at the engine and trunk for water lines, which would indicate that the car sat in standing water. 
  4. Rust. Inspect the undercarriage, doors, under the dashboard, inside the hood, and trunk latches for rust. Unless the car is decades old, corrosion is not likely. Rust indicates water damage. 
  5. Dirt buildup. Check around the seat tracks and the upper carpeting under the glove compartment. Have a mechanic look under the hood for grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses, and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps, and relays.

Before you purchase a used car, do a thorough visual inspection and go for a test drive. If you suspect the vehicle has been salvaged, you should report it to local law enforcement. If you're currently in the market for a reliable used vehicle, come to Hometown Auto. We stand behind every car we sell. While most car dealers spend money making sure a car looks good, we make sure it's in good operating order. Visit us in High Point or Winston Salem today!