How to identify flood-damaged cars

Posted 9/10/21

Hurricane Ida and the historic flooding it caused in parts of the country left countless vehicles underwater. Now that cleanup is underway, drivers are left to deal...

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How to identify flood-damaged cars

Posted

Hurricane Ida and the historic flooding it caused in parts of the country left countless vehicles underwater. Now that cleanup is underway, drivers are left to deal with the reality that their car may be damaged beyond repair.

While most of these vehicles will be totaled, some will likely end up being repaired and sold to unsuspecting buyers in parts of the country far away from where the flooding occurred. Other drivers will be tempted to buy a car they know has been damaged by a flood because it may seem like a good deal.

SafeAuto is warning drivers to know the signs to look for and to be aware of the risks of buying a flood-damaged car:

• Look for signs of flooding - Moisture in the trunk or carpet, water lines in the engine compartment, moldy or musty odors, rust under the car, and mud in the glove box or center console are all potential clues of a flood-damaged car.

• Hidden damage can compromise safety - Even if you make extensive repairs on a water-damaged vehicle, its safety is probably compromised. In some cases, these cars have hidden damage that is difficult to spot, such as softened hoses or faulty electrical work. Although electrical components may be functioning now, salt water contact can cause corrosion overtime. Resulting in issues that present themselves months or years down the road.

• Low resale value - If you plan to drive your used car for a few years and then trade it in or sell it, you’ll find a flood-damaged car has a low market value. It’s costly to completely restore a vehicle that has sustained water damage. Therefore, the likelihood that you’ll encounter this problem is high as sellers may not want to invest in fixing up a car with a flood or salvage stamp.

• Insurance difficulties - If you’re considering a car that has been involved in a flood, you should factor in the insurance costs as well. It may cost you more to insure a vehicle that has flood damage, or your car insurance company may be unwilling to insure it at all.

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