Why Inspecting A Used Car For Water Damage Is Important
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have made way through the states, leaving many used cars damaged by floods. It is estimated that over 300,000 claims will be filed with insurance companies for flood damaged vehicles. As it is not illegal to sell these vehicles, there is a good chance many of these vehicles will end up in the used car market through auctions and salvage yards. Considering some loop holes in the reporting agencies, there is a good chance some of these cars will end up in our market without being titled as flood damaged.
Things To Keep In Mind When Inspecting A Used Car For Flood Damage
- Check the history report: Many car title and history reporting companies will include a check for flood damage based on insurance records. This is a good first step to checking for history of flooding or what states the title has be transferred to. Although there are ways to avoid flood damage being reported, multiple title changes in a short period of time should raise some questions.
- What’s that smell?: Even though a flooded car goes through multiple stages of reconditioning, one thing that is almost impossible to remove is that moldy foul smell of lingering bacteria infested waters! Make sure you check for any unusual odors in the car (especially the trunk and the heat or A/C).
- Stains and rust spots: Even though most interior parts get replaced or cleaned after a used car has been flooded, there are always small signs that raise suspicion of water damage. Thoroughly check the interior for unusual water stains and check all metal parts in the interior for signs of excessive rust like under the seats or behind kick panels. Inspect the car’s exterior for rust spots as well. Make sure to look underneath the car and also look at any visible bolts for unusual rust.
- Make sure everything works: Finally, make sure you test that everything works the way it’s designed to. For example, if a seat won’t move and there is rust on the track, that could be a good indicator of water damage. Make sure all the lights and switches work. Look for unexplainable occurrences when inspecting everything (like things intermittently going on and off). Drive the car and makes sure there are no abnormal noises coming for you engine and transmission.
There is no doubt that some of these flood vehicles will end up in used car lots across the country. It is best to always buy from a reputable used car dealer, but if you are unsure or have any doubts, inspecting a used car with a professional is always a good idea.