How to spot a flood damaged car, guest post by Eric Muhanji

In recent years there have been numerous floods all over the world. These deluges have destroyed houses, roads, and vehicles. If one is buying a used car; it is imperative that one takes extra care to ensure he/she is not inadvertently sold to a car that has been damaged by floods. There are several ways to spot a flood damaged car, they include but not limited to the following:

Make a formal inquiry in writing.
Inquire from your dealer whether the car in question has any flood damage, it is important to do this in writing and receive the response in writing too. A look at the car title or log book will also be necessary; this will enable you to see if the car is from a flood hit region. Certain areas will have the documents stamped flood or salvage if the car has any damage to that effect. Lack of the said documents, alterations in the documents or a written confirmation regarding flood status of the car should have your alarm bells ringing.

Look for signs of corrosion and rust.
Signs of corrosion and rust are always visible. A keen eye will detect these signs either inside or outside the car. Rust on door hinges, under the dashboard and on screws are usually a straight giveaway that the car has had extended contact with large amounts of water. A look at the trunk latches and the springs beneath the car seats is also important; corrosion keeps on eating away the vehicle long after the exposure, making these signs very difficult to hide from a keen observer.

Check the car fabrics and upholstery
An exposure to above normal water levels or quantities will have an effect on the car seat fabrics and carpet. In a flood damaged car the upholstery will have some brown and patchy water stains. A car that has a completely new interior should raise eyebrows. It is also important to check if the car carpet and the seat fabrics, upholstery on both the door and roof have aged together; they usually do. An instance where one is newer than the other should pique your curiosity and make you pose the necessary questions to ascertain that you are not being given a raw deal.

Check the car’s electrical system
One of the easiest ways is to check for brittle wires. A quick look at the dashboard and a gentle bend on the wires will easily show brittleness. This is a sure sign that the car was exposed to water for a long time. To fully confirm the condition of the car it is advisable that takes the car for a test drive; this will enable a test on the electronics. Listen for any funny noises when you turn the ignition, check whether all the lights on the dashboard come alive. Try all the signals and emergency lights, listen to the radio for any static or distorted audio.

Perform an Oil Check
In most instances a flood damaged car will have its oil being pale instead of dark. The oil may also feel sticky when touched. A quick check on the air filter at this stage is also important; a flood damaged car will have water stains in its filter. The above are just a few of the many ways to spot a flood damaged car and save yourself and loved ones from incurring heavy losses.

Author’s bio:
Eric Muhanji works at ServicingStop.co.uk – a nationwide online automotive MOT and Service network with over 1,000 garages in the UK.

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