Flooded Cars: How to Spot One Before You Buy | Consumer Reports

Flooded Cars: How to Spot One Before You Buy | Consumer Reports


[MUSIC PLAYING] Here are a couple
of small checks that you can do yourself
to see if a car was or was not a victim of flood damage. We’re using a new, unflooded
Honda CR-V as an example. First thing you want
to do is come over to the front of the car. You want to get down
and take a sniff test. Basically inhale
and see if there’s any kind of moldy
or musty smell. If you have that, you definitely
want to walk away from the car. Next, pop up the trim panel
on the side of the door here. You want to look and see
if the carpet is dirty, or if there’s any kind of
sediment in here or rust. Also look in the door pockets. If there’s any kind of sediment
in here or dirt or stones, that’s what happened when the
water came up and in the car. And as it drained away, it
settled and hid in there. Pop off some of the caps and
covers for the seat bolts. If these are scratched
up or even look rusted, that means the seat was
taken out so it can air dry. Want to run away as well. Look where a spare
tire would be kept. If it’s got sound
deadening, smell if it’s musty or moldy smelling. Take a look and see if there’s
any rust on exposed screws, on the panels, or even on
the tools like the jack and the jack stand. You want to make sure there’s
not a water line halfway, three quarters of the way up
the interior of the light. That shows that water
went into it leaving kind of like a high water mark. The same type of
thing is in the back. Look along the back
of the engine bay, there’s some soft material here. It’s sound deadening. When water rose and stays
when the car is flooded, it’s going to recede
and leave a flood line. If there’s anything like that,
walk away from the vehicle. We recommend that
even if a car has passed your visual
inspection, you should take it to a mechanic
for a more thorough one. The mechanic may
be able to uncover hidden damage that eluded you. And you’ll spend about
$100, but that money could be worth
thousands down the road.

About the Author: Michael Flood

18 Comments

  1. Take the car for a drive and play some tunes on the stereo. Speakers are mounted down-low and are made of paper/cardstock and will be damaged in a flood.

  2. Sure.
    I,m sure the dealer is going to like watching you remove trim on his cars.
    A mechanic could be juiced in with a used car dealer.
    Even a used car on the lot that was not flooded out could have been a total wreck anyhow.
    Bring a body shop man with you that you know or have known for years.

  3. Get on your back in the driver's/passenger footwells, flashlight handy, look up under the dashboard for sand, dirt, rusted metal.

  4. Here is another good Tip EVEN IF CAR FAX gives the OK
    it can still be a unreported flood damage car
    look under the driver and passenger foot well for rust .
    I was looking at a car it said nothing on the carfax about being flooded . but had plenty of rust inside where the foot well is at.. and many many other places That means it's flooded.
    The seats were new (they did not have any wear on them which is another bad sign. )
    Another bad sign is it's previously an out of state car. From a Hurricane or any flat land flood state.
    This guy sucks and does not really know what to look for in a flooded car…

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