How to avoid buying a flood-damaged car?
If you are shopping to buy a used car and come across a good price that is almost unbelievable, then it probably is.
When floods hit various parts of the country, it brings out immoral people who do business in selling flood damaged used vehicles. When buying a used car, you need to be careful of the situation. There are unscrupulous people who will repair a water-damaged salvage car and make it running again. Therefore, you must do your due diligence when you are buying a used car.
How to tell if a car has been flooded?
The water damaged cars are often sold in the auction, without disclosing the flood damage. Before buying a used car, your top priority is to ask whether the car has a salvage title. A good idea is to use Carfax.com. If the car has undergone a repair, then the car will be listed in the database on NICB.org. And never purchase a car off the street. Ask the paperwork from them. If they don’t have the paperwork, then you are only asking for trouble.
Flood water can hugely affect a car, both seen and unseen. However, how to check for flood damage on a car if the vehicle you are going to buy is water damaged?
Here are 11 practical tips to determine how to spot a flood-damaged car:
(1) Sniff out flood damage on the car using your senses. The smell and watermarks are the most obvious signs of water damage. Roll up the windows to check if you can smell a mildewy, damp scent.
(2) Just as the damp smell, the opposite is the smell of car fresheners and cleaning agents trying to hide the mold.
(3) You must pay attention to recently updated fabric. Non-matching upholstery and fabrics and new carpet in the older car can be a red flag.
(4) See if the VIN number plate is fixed with materials except for rivets.
(5) Try to find silt or sand under the carpet and floor mats. Search for water marks under the dashboard, on the upholstery within the headliner cloth, and on the seat belts. Inspect for moisture on the seat belts by pulling it all the way.
(6) Don’t forget to look closely at the headlights because they also trap moisture.
(7) Radio also often gets damaged in the water. So, switch on the radio and hear the door speakers.
(8) A car having extensive water damage might contain problems with its electrical elements. Test out each and every electrical component, including air-conditioning, windows, heating, and blinkers.
(9) Hiring a mechanic can be expensive, but it is worth the money for inspecting under the hood. The mechanic will be able to check for oxidation signs. Aluminum parts will contain white powder or pitting. Copper will turn green. Steel and iron rust.
(10) Look for grit or mud in the spare tire compartment, behind the wiring harnesses and alternator crevices.
(11) In the console areas, look for rust on the screws.
How to check if a car is salvage?
Above all, trust your instincts. Regardless of how good the price of the car is, if you get a suspicion that the car has been hit by a flood, then don’t buy it. If something appears suspicious, then listen to your stomach because there possibly is something wrong.