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  • Writer's pictureMarty Walt

Flood Damaged Vehicles

Updated: May 2, 2023

Flood-damaged cars can pose a serious safety risk for an unsuspecting victim, not to mention the financial and emotional toll. Because this continues to be a widespread problem every year, CARSTAR focuses new attention on the serious hazards associated with these vehicles.

Government estimates put more than 500,000 of these cars in the marketplace, being sold to unsuspecting buyers.

If a car’s critical safety systems suddenly fail, the safety of the occupants and others is jeopardized. According to a report prepared by CCAR, a non-profit corporation established in 1994 that represents all segments of the automotive industry, “there are no known, readily available processes that can return interior “soft” parts back to a clean, hygienic and sanitary condition.”

Tips on how to spot a flood-damaged vehicle:

  1. Check the vehicle’s title history

  2. Examine the interior and the engine compartment for evidence of water and grit

  3. Check for recently shampooed carpet

  4. Check under the floorboard carpets for water residue or stain marks from evaporated water

  5. Look for rusting on the inside of the car and under interior carpeting and visually inspect all interiors for any evidence of fading

  6. Check under the dashboard for dried mud and residue, and note any evidence of mold or a musty odor in the upholstery, carpet, or trunk

  7. Check for rust on screws in the console or other areas where the water would normally not reach

  8. Check for mud or grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses, and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps, and relays

  9. Complete a detailed inspection of the electrical wiring system, looking for rusted components, water residue, or suspicious corrosion

  10. Inspect the undercarriage of other components for evidence of rust and flaking metal


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