How to Avoid Buying a Flooded Car from Hurricane Season

Mechanic Looking at Car

Hurricane season can cause serious damage to hundreds of thousands of cars in an affected area. While repairs can help fix a bit of the damage, flooded vehicles from hurricane season can still have many serious issues inside, outside, and under the hood.

Unfortunately, flooded cars can still go up for sale, but there are a few tips to help you weed them out. If you're in the market for a reliable pre-owned vehicle, here are the best tips to help you avoid buying a flooded car from hurricane season.

1. Check the Vehicle History Report

Looking at Vehicle History Report

To avoid buying a flooded car from hurricane season, the first thing you need to do is check the vehicle history report. A vehicle history report includes tons of important information about the car you want. It'll help you learn more about how many owners it has had, any accidents it's been in, and any flood damage it had in the past.

It also features details about any reported service and repairs. So, if the used car you want was flooded from hurricane season, you can see if it received necessary repairs.

2. Examine the Exterior for Rust

Rust is one of the most common signs of a flooded car. If you notice rust around the doors, inside the hood, or on the pedals and the undercarriage, the vehicle may have experienced a bit of flood damage from hurricane season.

3. Inspect Lights and Instrument Panel for Moisture

Inspecting Your Car's Dashboard

When you're performing your visual inspections, it's important to take a closer look at the interior and exterior lights as well as the instrument panel. If you see fog or moisture beads in the light casings or the instrument panel, you may be looking at a flooded car.

4. Check for Musty Odors

When you get behind the wheel, take a quick whiff and make a note of any musty odors. Musty scents inside a used car are one of the most definitive signs of flooding. Water damage can also occur in the truck, so don't forget to inspect the cargo area for odors, too.

5. Look Out for Water Stains

The longer a car is flooded, the more interior issues occur. A common indicator of interior damage is water stains. Water stains can appear anywhere in the car, from the upholstery to the dashboard, and can be accompanied by residue from flood waters.

6. Take a Closer Look at the Upholstery

Inspecting Your Car's Dashboard

After a flood, many people may have the upholstery in their cars replaced, especially if they're looking to sell it in the future. So, if the seats and flooring look newer than the rest of the car, be sure to ask about them to see if it was replaced due to flooding issues.

7. Take a Test Drive

Flooding from hurricane season doesn't just affect the interior and exterior condition of a used car; it can also cause quite a bit of damage under the hood. When you're behind the wheel, keep an eye out for any odd noises, performance issues, and unusual smells, as these could be signs of flood damage.

8. Check Electronic Features for Operation

Take a Test Drive

Water and electronics don't mix, so you may notice issues with the lights, radio, infotainment system, and other electronic features within a flooded car. During the test drive or inspection, take some time to check all vehicle electronics for proper operation.

9. Examine Powertrain Fluids for Contamination

The fluids that run through the transmission and engine are the lifeblood of any car; they need to be clean and fresh to keep the powertrain running efficiently and safely. If water, dirt, or any other contaminants mix these fluids, you may experience serious performance issues when you're driving around.

10. Shop at a Trusted Used Car Dealer

Finally, if you want to avoid buying a flooded car from hurricane season, it's important to go to a trusted used car dealership, such as Val-U-Line®. We take the time to make sure everything in our inventory is clean, running well, and free of any damage caused by flooding from hurricane season.

Through extensive safety inspections and a CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™, we can make sure you get an affordable used car that's dependable and in great condition.

For more information about our dealership or our selection of dependable pre-owned vehicles, contact our team today!