To prevent purchasing a flooded car, you must keep an eye for the following car flood damage symptoms:
- Weird odors
- Different carpet colors and material
- Signs of moisture
- Strange damp areas
- Corrosion and rust
- Foggy taillights
- Dirt and debris
- Test drive confirmation
- Professional inspection
- Vehicle history
Severe flood events impact different areas around the United States between now and then. When a flood hits, thousands of vehicles get impacted by the floods, and many turns to complete junk because of the severe impact of floods. When water gets into the different electric and mechanical components in your car, it quickly leads to significant damages requiring thousands of dollars on repairs.
While it's typically obvious on the vehicle's title that the car was involved in flood damage, many sellers use what's known as “title washing” to hide the history of flood damage from the car. That's why many buyers end up with an unreliable vehicle without any means to get back to the seller and resolve the issue.
This article provides you with all you need to know about detecting flood damage in any vehicle. In addition, it highlights all potential car flood damage symptoms that you need to look for to confirm that the vehicle wasn't involved in flood damage.
What is flood damage?
Before we dig into the details about car flood damage symptoms, it is critical to understand what it means for a vehicle to be titled with flood damage. What damage impact on your car depends heavily on how severe the flood was and how long your vehicle was soaked in water during the flood.
For example, a flood might not get your vehicle completely soaked in water, which means that your car might be restorable, and your insurance company will be able to pay for the repairs. On the other hand, severe floods get the vehicle completely soaked in water, which means that none of the electric components and many of the mechanical components will be completely ruined. When that happens, most insurance companies decide to claim the vehicle as flood-damaged, which means they won't pay for the car. You'll have multiple options depending on the insurance company to either sell the vehicle to them or negotiate other alternatives to resolve the issue.
The biggest concern about flood-damaged cars is when it comes to reselling them. Typically, a flood-damaged car will show on the car’s history and the car's title. However, some car sellers sell these cars in other states that were not impacted by the flood, where the seller changes the title into a different title that hides the details.
Car flood damage symptoms
Buying a used vehicle becomes extremely easy with their different available online platforms that connect you with many potential sellers in no time. Unfortunately, however, there is a high increase in car selling scams where many buyers end up with completely damaged cars.
One of the most common scams you might encounter is someone who recently sells cars damaged in flood. Therefore, you must understand what symptoms can help you detect a flood-damaged car before spending any money.
1- Weird odors
One of the easiest ways to detect a flood-damaged car is to monitor the vehicle's order. First, you need to pay clear attention to any abnormal smell, whether it's good or bad. Typically, the car will have some mold-like smell with them, and many sellers will try to hide this smell using strong air fresheners. Therefore, if you realize that the smell is abnormally strong, you want to continue looking through this list to confirm whether this vehicle was involved in flood damage or not.
2- Different carpet colors and material
When a vehicle gets involved in a flood, you'll see that some of the drivers might replace the original carpets with other ones. Take a closer look at the carpets and look for any signs of a mismatch. If that's the case, the seller is trying to hide something, and it will be most likely that the seller will buy some of the common commercial carpets that do not match the original ones. In most scenarios, these carpets might not be a perfect size that fits the vehicle because most commercial ones do not usually have the exact match.
3- Signs of moisture
When there is water in the car, the seller will try his best to remove it. However, you'll still see some signs of moisture around the gauges and any electronic component. Take a closer look at these components and check for any symptoms that could help you understand whether the vehicle was soaked in water or not before. You might need to use a flashlight to help yourself detect the moisture more clearly.
4- Strange damp areas
When the seller tries to dry out the car, he won't completely dry it out. In other words, if you pay closer attention underneath these seats, for instance, you will still find some signs of damp areas. These wet areas might be because of some water spell or other reason, but if it's all over the vehicle, it indicates that it's not an accident and the vehicle was involved in a flood.
5- Corrosion and rust
When a vehicle gets soaked in water, many metal components get rusted, and corrosion impacts all these components. Therefore, if he realized that there was a lot of rust all over the vehicle, it could indicate that the car was flooded.
6- Foggy taillights
When the taillights or the headlights get soaked in water, they build some fogs, and you'll see that the lenses are not as clear as before. That could be a strong sign that the car was involved in a flood. On the other hand, if the fog is in one area more than the other, it might not be linked to a flood, but it could be something else with the taillight itself.
7- Dirt and debris
Flood water is not clean water, which means that it will collect many debris and contaminants as it gets inside the cars. Therefore, if you realize that the vehicle's interior is filled with signs of dirt and debris, it might indicate that the car was flooded before.
8- Test drive confirmation
You can also take the vehicle for a test drive, and you will immediately notice some common symptoms indicating that the car was flooded. For instance, the dashboard might not act as it should, and you'll see that the different gauges indicate that they have some moisture or some of the electronic components are not working properly.
9- Professional inspection
If you're not comfortable inspecting your car and you still think that there's a chance that the vehicle was involved in a flood, you can always hire a professional. A professional mechanic will have a better idea about the history of the car by just looking at it for a couple of minutes.
What will take you hours to detect shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes by a professional mechanic. Therefore, if you're planning to buy a relatively valuable car, it's worth investing another amount of money for hiring a professional to prevent buying a car that was flooded.
10- Vehicle history
Finally, this should be the first step you must implement before even looking into any of the other car flood damage symptoms. Checking the history of the car helps to determine whether it was flooded before or not. If the seller is trying to hide something, you might not necessarily detect the right information, but using the VIN and searching for online history reports can give you vital information about whether the vehicle was flooded before or not.
Is it worth fixing a flood-damaged car?
It all depends. According to automotive experts, repairing a flood-damaged car depends heavily on the severity of the flood. Sometimes it might cost you anywhere between $20 and $8000 depending on your vehicle's type and impacted components.
As you might notice, the price range differs significantly, which means that you can make an informed decision depending on the total repair costs and new vehicles value. For example, if you realize that repair costs are getting close to 75% or more from your car's value, it is not worth spending your time and effort and any investment to fix this car. Instead, you recommend it to sell this vehicle and use its value towards a better car that doesn't have any problem.
There are some factors to consider when thinking about fixing a flood-damaged car, including:
- The car's age
- The car's condition
- The car's value
- The amount of money you owe in the car
- Total repair costs
What happens if you buy a flooded car?
If you got into a situation where you mistakenly bought a flood-damaged car, that's not the end of the world because many floods impacted cars are not completely damaged, and there's still drivable. In other words, if the flood did not soak the car completely, there's a high chance that some of the impacted components might be fixed without spending thousands of dollars.
On the other hand, if the vehicle was completely soaked in water and some of the major components got impacted, that's a big bummer because you'll have to deal with high repair costs. So in most scenarios, the best option is to sell the vehicle.
Whatever you ran through, you shouldn't repeat on other people. In other words, you must be clear about the fact that this car was flooded. Yes, and won't find any potential buyer from individual shoppers. However, companies like cash cars buyer are more than happy to purchase orders. At cash cars buyer, you'll get whatever your vehicle deserves. We provide the top offers that your car can make around your area, which is a big win to you after ending up with a flood-damaged car because it's very rare to find any potential buyer or any dealership to accept this vehicle.
A flood can impact our vehicles in many ways. If the car is completely soaked in water, there's a very high chance that the vehicle is completely damaged, and you'll have to pay thousands of dollars on repairs.
Unfortunately, many scammers out there title washes the vehicle and sell it as a regular car in other states than the ones impacted by the hurricane or the flood. That's why it's critical for you as a buyer to keep an eye for symptoms indicating that the vehicle was involved in flood damage.
These symptoms include issues with strange order, carpets match, electronic moisture, damp spots, rust and corrosion, dirt, etc. Hiring a professional saves you a lot of time and effort to detect any flood damage history in your car and prevent paying thousands of dollars on a vehicle that is not worth it.
On the other hand, it becomes very hard to find a potential buyer when dealing with a flood-damaged vehicle. However, cash cars buyer is willing to buy your flood-damaged car and remove it in no time!
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