|Written by Thomas Conroy|
Introduction: It's an ages old practice for those with less than honorable intentions to pawn off a flood damaged car onto someone unsuspecting, the buyer only to discover later that the purchase is one that should have been avoided. The majority of flood damaged cars are jockeyed from the southern United States to a more northern location, following a natural disaster such as a hurricane.
Once cleaned and repaired, it can become tremendously difficult to detect the damage as all that a potential buyer views is a meticulously detailed automobile, often offered at a price that is too good to turn down. There are a few obvious signs that that warn of previous flood damage, and an alert consumer can avoid making a disastrous mistake by following a few simple tips.
Step 1: At any time it is always a good idea to obtain a vehicle inspection report when considering the purchase of a used car. Companies like Carfax and Experian Auto Check offer detailed reports for a nominal price, and the only information a potential buyer needs is the vehicle identification number. A great bluff when purchasing a car is to let the seller see the VIN number being taken down on paper. Watching the reaction of the seller when they encounter this can tell you volumes as to a car's true history.
Step 2:Â One of the very best ways to avoid buying aÂ flood damaged car is to closely examine the car's interior. Upholstery and carpeting that has been cleaned within an inch of it's life, a mustyÂ smell, and excessive dirt in small crevices are strong signs that a car has encountered a flood at some point in it's lifetime. A wise car buyer will also look up under the dashboard for signs of mud or rusted screw heads or wiring. If possible, look under the carpet for excessive rust on floor boards.
Step 3: In the engine compartment, signs of flood damage can be seen by excessive rust on engine components and wiring, and often times there is actually a rusted line around the compartment where the water level left a mark. An alternatorÂ is a great place where water damage due to a flood can be spotted, as there is usually a trace of mud remaining in the baffles that can be seen rather easily.
Step 4: A simple way to avoid buying a flood damaged car is when any doubt of a car's condition exists, an examination of the car by a mechanic is necessary. In very short order an automotive professional can determine the true condition of a particular vehicle, and thousands of dollars can be saved for a prudent consumer.