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How To Diagnose Water Damage in a Car? 10 Simple Ways

How To Diagnose Water Damage in a Car

If you suspect that your car has water damage, here are 10 simple ways “how to diagnose water damage in a car?”

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  1. A strong, musty odor
  2. Different carpet colors
  3. Gauges with moisture
  4. Wet spots
  5. Fog on the headlights
  6. Too much rust and corrosion
  7. Excessive dirt
  8. Clear issues when test drive
  9. Confirm with a professional
  10. Check the VIN

Buying a used vehicle is a smart decision, especially if you can't afford a brand-new car. However, buying a used car must be done in a certain way to prevent getting stuck with a completely damaged car.

One of the worst situations you might get involved in is buying a vehicle with water damage. Unfortunately, it can be hard for inexperienced buyers to detect and spot the water damage. If you're planning to purchase a used car and considering the spring season now with a lot of rain and potential flooding, you must familiarize yourself with different ways that you can determine whether a car was involved in flood damage or not.

This article provides you with 10 simple things to help you determine whether a car was involved in flood damage and help you answer the question, “how to diagnose water damage in a car?”

Signs of Flood Water Damage

How to diagnose water damage in a car?

Detecting water damage is not very hard, but it can be challenging if you haven't seen a car with a lot of damage before. However, if you've been in a situation where your car got involved in flood damage, you might have some sense of what to expect.

To keep things simple coming soon, you are looking for ways to detect water damage assuming that you didn't see one before. Let's say goal so look at what automotive experts recommend:

1.    A strong, musty odor

The first and most obvious symptom indicating that a car has water damage is that strong, musty smell. Have you ever been in a basement that got flooded before? That smell of mold and other musty odors or what we're referring to.

You'll immediately notice that the car smells weird, and this smell tells you that there was some water somewhere. Also, that seller might put strong air fresheners to cover this small, which could be a potential suspect. Finally, if you see that solar is putting too many refreshing hours in the car or trying to hide something, it could indicate that the vehicle might get involved in water damage.

However, you can't confirm unless you detect other indications like the ones mentioned in this list.

2.    Different carpet colors

Another potential indication that the car has water damage is when you see mismatched car carpets' colors. In most scenarios, one of the carpets got extremely wet, and the driver needed to replace it using a different one. He potentially went with the cheaper aftermarket option and purchased the other car.

Keep in mind that there might be a small percentage where the driver just got a different car carpet car because of any other reason. For example, the carpet might be cut very dirty, and the seller tries to remove this shirt and just bought a different color pure. Therefore, you want to collect as much evidence as possible to confirm whether our vehicle has flood or water damage or not.

Selling Flooded Cars

3.    Gauges with moisture

Another clear indication that could tell you the vehicle has water damage is if you look at the gauges on the dashboard. Typically, the gauges and the electronic components of the vegetable should be clear without any signs of moisture. However, if you take a closer look and check these gauges, you'll immediately notice some moisture inside the gauges because the buyer cannot do anything about them to get rid of or hide the water damage.

If you confirm that the gauges have some moisture, that is a strong indication, and this should be a strong case for you to walk away and never buy this vehicle. Otherwise, you might discover some other problems right after you drive this car & the dotted line on the Bill of sale.

4.    Wet spots

You can also perform another visual inspection to confirm whether the vehicle has water damage or not. For example, if you notice some damped spots or wet spots all over the vehicle, this could mean that the car was involved in flood damage.

Again, there might be some damp spots because the driver tried to clean the vehicle himself, which is something you might want to ask directly or collect additional confirmations to say whether the vehicle has flood or water damage.

car flood damage symptoms
car flood damage symptoms

5.    Fog on the headlights

When you're dealing with a water-damaged car, the headlights will be another piece of evidence to confirm the case. Take a closer look at the headlights and probably the taillights. If you see that they're foggy or have some signs of moisture, this could confirm that you're dealing with a water-damaged car.

6.    Too much rust and corrosion

When water approaches certain components in the car, rust and corrosion can build up very quickly. So that could be another sign that the vehicle has water issues.

Even if the car was not water damaged, if the car has lots of corrosion and rust, that should be a strong reason for you to walk away and never buy it. Rust is not a simple problem because it builds up very quickly and causes some damage to the vehicle frame, which might get to the point where you can't drive it.

Therefore, the long story short is that if you see a lot of rust end corrosion around the vehicle, you should not buy it no matter the deal.

Car Flood Damage Symptoms
Car Flood Damage Symptoms

7.    Excessive dirt

If a vehicle got water damaged, you'd see piles of dirt around the car, especially in the corners that the driver cannot access. Imagine a lot of flooding water that is not clean gun inside the vehicle and then dried out here, and what will happen?

Layers of Dirt will accumulate in the different areas around the car. The driver and the potential seller will do their best to remove the spirit as much as possible. However, there will be some corners around the car where he could not clean up, and that's where you can confirm whether the vehicle was flood damaged or not.

8.    Clear issues when test drive

If none of the visual inspections you performed confirmed the water damage, the next step you can do is a test drive your car, which you have to do either way.

We need to strive the car; you can tell that the vehicle has some issues, and these issues could range from minor problems like vibration and other types of weird noises to more significant problems like the car shutting off suddenly.

These problems could be related to various issues, and one of them could be a lot of damage. Therefore, if you notice any weird vehicle behavior, you should take it seriously and walk away, and never get convinced to buy his car no matter how much money he could save on it.

While you can save some money by buying this car at a very good deal, you should think long-term and be prepared for the problems we'll deal with when buying a vehicle with water damage.

Water Damaged Car

9.    Confirm with a professional

Sometimes if you don't have the right skill sets, you might miss all of the mentioned sports and ways to diagnose water damage in a car. That's when you should evaluate whether you should consult a mechanic or a professional or not period too,

You don't necessarily have to hire a professional and pay a lot for labor costs. Instead, you might want to bring one of your family members or a friend to help you detect any water damage in a car. However, if you don't have anybody close by to help you, it's worth bringing in a mechanic who has experience detecting these problems.

Even if the car does not have water damage, hiring and mechanic for a couple of 100 dollars will save you lots of headaches down the road. In addition, your mechanic will be able to detect other issues, not even those related to the water damage. For example, the mechanic understands what it will look like or sound like when you have a bad engine or a faulty transmission.

10.  Check the VIN

Finally, a good way to check if water damaged a car or not is by checking the clear typically; major car problems are recorded in the vehicle's history, which is saved in the VIN report.

You can look online for a specific car through the VIN. Note that sometimes this will cost you some money, but it's definitely worth the investment, so you don't have to deal with a water-damaged car after investing all this money.

However, if you buy a used vehicle through a certain dealership, they should have access to some resources to get you the VIM information and very report. So confirm with the dealership whether they have this information or whether they can get it for you or not.

winter vehicle maintenance

What to do with a water-damaged car?

Sometimes you might get to a point where you have or own a water-damaged car. Probably it's your daily car that got flooded, or you got scanned and bought a vehicle with some signs of water damage without paying attention.

That should not be the end of the world because you should have ways of getting rid of this call. But, you don't want to scam other people and sell them many damaged cars because that's not what you should be looking for.

However, if you reach out to Cash Cars Buyer, you can always find a quote and guarantee that your vehicle will be sold immediately. The nice thing about Cash Cars Buyer is that we evaluate your vehicle and compare it to the most recent transactions around your area to pay the top dollars that your vehicle deserves!

More importantly, you don't have to wait for a long time until Cash Cars Buyer removes your vehicle because we will remove it within one to three days only! With a 24-hour car removal company, you don't have to worry about the pickup time or location because we got to!

If you're ready to sell your water-damaged car to Cash Cars Buyer, all you must do is give us a call at 773-791-4363!

Final thoughts

Dealing with a lot of damaged cars is never a good situation, let alone buying one here; therefore, understanding how to diagnose water damage in a car helps you prevent buying a vehicle with significant issues,

This article walked you through 10 simple ways to spot any water damage in a car. Once you confirm that the water damage got to this vehicle, how about, we should walk away and never buy this car,

If for some reason, your vehicle has water damage and you're concerned that no buyers will accept it, you can always reach out to Cash Cars Buyer!

Cash Cars Buyer is one of the top-rated car removal companies in the nation that guarantees to pay you the top dollars and provide you with free towing despite your living location around the United States.

Our process is very straightforward and doesn't take more than a couple of days to get your car removed safely and for the most money.

All it takes you is to:

  • Describe your car's type and condition
  • Receive our instant free quote
  • Accept the quote
  • Get your car removed and receive your cash payment on the spot!

To learn more about our process and our team, you can reach out to us by calling us at (773) 791-4363 or visiting our home page click on the free instant online offer.


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