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What Car Buyers Should Know to Avoid Buying Flood-Damaged Vehicles

More people are learning the value of Carfax reports as they shop for used vehicles. The reports include valuable information about a vehicle's past damages. One important topic to consider that may or may not appear on a Carfax report is whether a vehicle sustained damages from flooding. A car may not necessarily have to come from a location where a river or body of water flooded. In some cases, a flood may occur in a built-in garage that is below ground level from rain or broken water pipes. Buying a car that has previous flood damage can be a serious and costly mistake whether the damage is noted on a Carfax report or not.

How To Identify A Vehicle With Flood Damage

The average person may have a difficult time identifying a vehicle with flood damage without some insight. Some people do a great job of cleaning up visible signs of flood damage. To identify different potential damage indicators, it is important to know what to look for and where to look. Always remember to be wary of used vehicles that are purchased in areas where there are hurricanes or bodies of water that flood regularly.

One of the most common signs of flood damage is a musty smell or odor throughout the entire car. In some cases, the car may have been exposed to moisture but not a true flood, and regular exposure to moisture can also cause a musty smell. If upholstery or carpeting is loose, discolored or does not match, this may be a sign of flood damage. Check to see if the carpets are damp. If there is rust inside of the latches of the trunk and hood, this is a possible indication of flood damage. Rust around the pedals, around the doors or under the dashboard may also indicate flood damage. When there is mud or silt under the seats, mats or in the glove compartment, this is usually a sure sign of flood damage. Look at the lights on the inside and outside of the vehicle. If they have moisture beads inside of them, the vehicle may be damaged. Another sign of flood damage is brittle wiring under the dashboard. Always use the free Carfax tool for flood damage searches when researching a VIN number of a vehicle.

Dangers Of Vehicles With Flood Damage

There are more worries tied to owning a flood-damaged vehicle than getting the smell of mildew out of the upholstery. Flooding causes serious damage to the electrical and computerized components of a vehicle. When the electrical and computer systems sustain damages, owners may notice frequent problems with lights, windshield wipers, sensors, cameras and locks. If the sensors are related to safety features on the vehicle, this can be an especially serious consideration for drivers who rely on the features. Anti-lock braking systems and airbags have been known to malfunction in flood-damaged vehicles.

People who buy flood-damaged vehicles without knowing about the damage can lose considerable amounts of money. In addition to frequent and costly repair bills, there is the issue of the vehicle's resale value. It will decrease significantly if it has flood damage, and sellers should always be completely honest when selling a vehicle despite a previous seller's lack of information. Flood-damaged vehicles are also risks for insurance companies.

The best way to avoid buying a vehicle with flood damage is to be an informed consumer. Always buy from a reputable source. When buying privately, research the vehicle on Carfax and other sites. Inspect any vehicle for signs of flood damage whether there are reports of it or not. If a vehicle has signs of possible damage or has confirmed flood damage, keep shopping for a better car.

To learn more about insurance and flood damage, discuss concerns with an Insurance Loft rep.