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How To Tell If The Car, Truck or Auto You Want To Buy Has Been Flooded or Water Damaged.


Cars get flooded via rain storms, tropical storms and hurricanes. Many flooded cars are determined to be totaled by the insurance company and are hauled to the junk yard. Many cars from Florida

But, surprise, many of the cars and trucks are bought and resold as a used car. This is one of the major complaints when buying used cars. Major hurricanes cause many cars to be totaled and have their titles labeled by insurance companies as "Flooded".

How To Spot Flood Damage.

Look for water lines inside the engine. A car sitting in a few feet of water will leave water lines on the radiator, on the engine, the wheel wells, inside the car, inside the door panel, inside the trunk. Car dealers may have cleaned the engine or outside of car so you will need to examine closely.

Examine the carpeting or upholstery. If the carpeting or upholstery is new, especially in an older car, it may be due to flooding. Lift up the carpeting and look for evidence of water or mold or a damp musty smell. Check for rust by the door hinges, and look in the trunk underneath the mats. Check the spare tire and crow bar, make sure they are not rusted.

Check the air filter. Often the air filter, made of paper fiber will reveal in it has been soaked.

Run the car title search using Vehicle History Reports on the car, which will show if any insurance companies had to total the car or brand it as "Flooded". Don't just run the free lemon car background checks, do the full report.

Flood-damaged vehicles - what to look for when shopping

Cars damaged by floods often show up on local used car lots. You should learn the warning signs of flood-damaged vehicles before purchasing a used car.


In some cases, the damage cars sustain in a flood is serious, but if a car has sustained only minor flood damage, there is no reason it should not be a good used car. You need to protect yourself by looking for clues that the car has been salvaged from a flood; it's all in knowing where to look, what to look for and what steps to follow:


1. Buy only from a reputable used car dealer.

2. Ask the dealer if the vehicle has been flood-damaged. Get the answer in writing with the bill of sale.

3. Take the vehicle to a trusted mechanic to be checked for any signs of flood damage.

4. Ask to see the title. If it is not stamped "Salvage" or "Flood," ask for the car's history to see if it came from a state that recently experienced flooding.

5. Look for dried mud or rust in the glove compartment, trunk, under the dashboard, seats and carpet.

6. Check the instrument panel to see that all gauges are working properly.

7. Find out if the car was flood damaged by salt or fresh water. Salt water is more corrosive and can cause more serious damage.

8. Look for discolored, faded or stained upholstery or carpeting. If the carpeting fits loosely or the color does not match the interior, it may have been replaced because the vehicle was flood damaged.

9. Check on the outside of the engine, inside garnish moldings and "kick plates," inside rear compartment for a distinguishing water line to see how deep the car was submerged.

Spending a little extra time to thoroughly check out a used car before you buy it can save you a great deal of money in the long run.


Vin Check - Flood damage vehicle history report

Flood Tips

Unlike hurricanes or earthquakes, floods are a potential threat to nearly every community. If your car was damaged in a flood, would it be a total loss? Read below to find out what can you do to prevent further damage and protect your investment. Or, learn how to look for flood damage if you're buying a used car.


Prevent flood damage to your car
Follow these important steps to inspect your car and assess the damage:

Check your oil indicator. A reading of an oil level that's too high may tell you there's water in the engine. Do not start or run your car; it could cause severe damage.
Measure the depth of the water in which your car was submerged. It is possible water did not enter any parts that are susceptible to damage.
Determine how long your car was submerged. The shorter the time, the more salvageable any damaged parts may be.
Be sure to note the type of water that flooded your vehicle. Fresh water causes less damage to your car than salt water.
Check local weather reports for the temperature during and after flooding. Warmer temperatures may speed up corrosion, especially if your car was flooded with salt water.

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