Be vigilant when looking into cars. Especially if the car smells funny or has an overwhelming odor of shampoo and new car smell. The smell of the shampoo and the spray can be there to disguise the musty smell. It’s no guarantee, but there is a chance that the vehicle underwent flooding.
If you do purchase a vehicle that was damaged by flood, it can be a nightmare. It may need the removal of the whole interior. You might need to replace the upholstery, padding, and carpets. You also have to change all the electrical connections. It is also important to know how the flood got inside the car. It may have exposure to salt water and water from the sewers however in most cases with flood-damaged cars it’s unlikely for anyone to know the history.
The musty smell is not the only possible hint of a flooded car. You should check the reflectors and lights. If they have moisture it is possible that the car went in the water.Check the dashboard gauges. Look for humidity and other residues. Test each gauge's operation as well as the lights. They should all be operational.
Test the electrical equipment inside the car like the stereo and headlights. Check also the turn signals, switches and climate control systems. They should all operate. Check if the wiring under the dashboard is brittle. Moisture may cause problems in the long term since it can corrode the wires inside the modules.
Another giveaway is rust. Visible rust on the interior screws and bolts state the water issue. Check if the trunk and engine compartment have signs of rust. Exposed metal that gets in contact with water will get rusty.
Padding under the carpet may also be a sign. It has the tendency to hold moisture for a long time. A visible water line may be another sign, but you need to pull off the door panels. Pull up the carpet and feel what’s underneath it. Doing this can help you see if someone replaced the carpet or if it is wet.
Another potential sign is the mud, grit or sand. They embed into the crevices, cracks, and upholstery.
Whenever you find these issues on a car you might buy, it is likely that flood damaged it. We recommend that you should walk away despite the potential savings. Reputable dealers will let you know about the history of the car upfront. They will also inform you about the details of its restoration. People who deny or hide knowledge don't deserve your business.
At the Wellcovered Insurance Group we want our clients to make good decisions behind the wheel but also on the used car lot. Buying a used car is like buying car insurance - it can cost a lot of money if you make a mistake so work with someone you trust. To learn more about how we can help you please contact our agency at (386) 218-4951 or Click Here to request a free quote.