Water damage from the recent floods has affected hundreds, maybe thousands of vehicles this year, and it can be hard to detect if you do not know what you are looking for. There are many professionals at detailing shops and garages that can clean and restore a vehicle after a flood, you should still be on the lookout for deals that sound too good to be true. We have put together a short list of things to look for when purchasing a used vehicle that you suspect may have been damaged in the recent flooding:
- Carpets and interior panels: See whether the carpet show signs of having been waterlogged, such as smelling damp and musty or caked-on mud. If the interior panels and/or carpet have been recently replaced may be another red flag.
- Seat-mounting screws: Check for tool marks on the bolts fastening front seats. If the seats were recently taken out to remove and clean/replace the carpets may be another sign the car was flooded. The seats may also be new, which could be another sign the vehicle was flooded.
- Check the headlights and tail lights: Sometimes there is water trapped in the lights. You may also be able to see a waterline on the inside of lenses and reflectors.
- Inspect the difficult-to-clean places: Check under the hood, inside door panels and floor pan for mud/dust and signs of water damage. Most new vehicles have lots of panels on the undercarriage, check for mud in-between these panels.
- Nuts and bolts: Check the nuts and bolts under the dashboard and in the interior of the vehicle as some may show signs of rust from being submerged for a few days.
- Drain plugs: Check to see if the drain plugs under the car and bottom of doors have been removed recently to drain flood water.
On the other side, if you have a used vehicle you are selling that was NOT affected by flood waters, now may be a good time to visit your nearest authorized inspection station to have your vehicle inspected. Good luck and be safe out there.
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