One of the worst things you can do while shopping for a used car is to pick up something with flood damage. Flood-damaged vehicles are unreliable and prone to serious mechanical and electrical issues throughout their lifespan. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to spot these damaged vehicles. The car appears fine and seems like too good a deal to pass up. Here are some common signs to look out for when purchasing used cars to help you avoid picking one with flood damage.
Give it a Look
When buying a used car, you should always be on the lookout for water damage. There are a few clear indicators that water damage has occurred in a vehicle. The first is a visible ring or change in carpet or seat upholstery in the vehicle. If either shows variations in color, it might be indicative that it was at one time completely saturated in liquid.
Another possible sign that the vehicle was once water damaged is brand new upholstery in a car that’s otherwise worn or sections of upholstery that just don’t match. If the carpet doesn’t match the seats, you are right to be suspicious of an owner who might do that. Chances are good the old carpets sustained some damage.
Give It a Sniff
There are two different smells that you should look out for when you are evaluating a car. A damp or musty smell, or a smell of heavy cleaning agents. Masking the mildew smell of a flood-damaged car is tough and picking up that scent shouldn't be tough, either. Also, if the car smells heavily of cleaning agents, there’s a possibility that the owner is trying to mask the mildew smell of water damage. As they say, the nose knows...
Give It Another Look
One of the very best ways that you can detect severe water damage is by testing out electrical components of a vehicle. If many of them are not working, you should at least consider water damage as a factor. Try out the radio, flip the blowers on and off, test out the windows, the turn signals, try to pop the trunk. Try everything that you can to see if the electrical components are working or not. A single feature not working might just be a fluke with the car, but many components not working is a telltale sign of the potential of water damage problems.
No matter what you think about a vehicle, you should go through a few additional steps to make sure that it’s worth the purchase. If you are seriously considering the car, take the time to get a vehicle history report. Make sure the title is clean and not a salvage title. To fully protect yourself, have the car evaluated by a professional mechanic. A trusted mechanic will help you spot potentially troublesome issues that you may have missed on your own.
Make sure that you are on the lookout for water damage. You don't want the headaches any more than that less than honest seller does.