Car buyers around the world experience the after-effects of destructive floods, often ending up purchasing water-damaged cars. New and used cars damaged by floodwater often find their way on to the market, leaving the buyers facing electrical and mechanical problems that often surface months later.

What Flood Does to Automobiles?

Corrosion gains a foothold in vehicles that are damaged by floodwater. At times, the signs are quite subtle and it is months before the critical system starts to fail, in severe cases endangering the driver. Check out beneath the car number plates and other parts where there are holes drilled into the body of the vehicle for marks of corrosion.

  • Electrical System

The electrical systems provide communication and control for multiple safety systems in the automobile. This includes airbag deployment, turn signals, and the anti-lock braking system. The effects of corrosive floodwater may not be evident at the very beginning, but it may be discovered later when parts of the electrical system lose electrical continuity.

  • Transmission and Engine

Floodwater may contaminate the lubricants. The impact may not be immediate. However, when the problem develops further it can result in an engine or gearbox failure.

  • Upholstery, Carpeting and Air Systems

Floodwater leaves carpentry and upholstery vulnerable to mold and bacterial growth. The air systems of the vehicle are equally vulnerable. Every time the heat or the air system is switched on, it will move the filth created by the floodwater into the passenger compartment, exposing the inhabitants of the vehicle to a potential health risk.

Now let’s identify a number of ways to help you avoid purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle.

Undertake an Odor Test

One of the quickest ways to tell whether a car is flood-damaged is to check for vehicle odor. It is very difficult to get rid of the aroma associated with a flood-damaged car. Mildew formation is yet another sign of the car being exposed to significant amounts of water. The unpleasant smell acts as a useful insight for you to avoid buying one of these vehicles.

If you can detect a fusty smell, you are probably checking out on a flood-damaged car. If you are not certain, close the doors and windows and sit inside for some time. Be warned if a strong air freshener is in use the dealer may be using it to cover a bad odor from flood damage.

Feel the way Around

Apart from the sense of smell, the sense of touch will also help to sense moisture in used cars. Water from floodwater gets collected in locations even the dealer misses. Run hands along the carpet and pat it in several spots to locate moisture. You can peel back the carpet if possible and feel the moisture between the car body and the carpet. You can also remain on the lookout for other marks of water damage inside the body of the vehicle, such as light brown rust staining, commonly found in flood-damaged vehicles.

Be Wary of the Buildup of dirt in Unusual Areas

Unusual areas include parts around seat tracks and under the glove compartment area. Ask an independent technician to look for grit or silt in the alternator crevices, small recesses of the starter motor, behind the wiring harness, and the power steering pump.

Be Careful of Cars Priced Below Market Rate

Check the market value of cars you are considering on independent vehicle pricing websites. The new and used cars priced below market rate indicate that the seller is anxious to get rid of it. Buyers must tread cautiously when a vehicle is priced well below market price.

Check the Oil

Changes in the viscosity and the color of oil indicate water has contaminated the engine’s oil. If you are familiar with checking the oil level and the oil condition, you can potentially identify a flood-damaged vehicle by undertaking a simple oil check.

Oil in the flood-affected cars will have a different color and there will be signs of white froth in the oil. Whilst under the bonnet of the car, check the paper air-filter in case it bears the signs of water ingress too.

Get a Professional Inspection

Hiring a trusted mechanic is always a good move when giving the car a thorough inspection before making your purchase. If you do not have a thorough check of the vehicle before buying it, it will be tough to protect yourself from the future problems of a potentially water-damaged car. Professionals will help to assure you, particularly if you are considering a car that has one or more of the warning signs listed above.

The inspection does not just involve checking out obvious signs of water damage but tests all electronic equipment and electrical equipment that take months to surface as problems.

Make sure to thoroughly check for all the above warning signs if you want to avoid future problems and expenses.

**This information is shared by Premier Plates number plates.