How to Tell If a Used Vehicle Has Flood Damage

May 10th, 2013 by

inspecting a vehicleWhen shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, the more information you can find on a used car that you’re interested in, the better. Here at River View Ford in Oswego, we look to provide our customers with full vehicle history reports on our used cars, but it never hurts to keep a watchful eye out for signs that a car might have received flood damage. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to investigate a car’s past on your own.

  • Be an Informed Shopper: If you find yourself perusing a used car lot and you see a car that’s priced way below market value without an explanation, that’s a red flag. Ask the dealership to let you look at that vehicle’s title to see if it came from a flood-damaged area. A “Flood” or “Salvage” sticker should be on the title if it has been flood damaged, and that sticker is actually required by law in some states.
  • Use Your Nose: When a car has endured an extensive amount of water damage, it’s incredibly difficult to rid a vehicle of that distinct, moldy aroma. If the smell of mold or mildew hits you right away, chances are that the car is flood damaged. However, to really make sure of this fact, sit in the car with all of the windows rolled up and take a big whiff. Excessive or strong air fresheners might be a clue that the dealership is trying to cover up the odor as well.
  • Get Hands-On: It’s entirely possible to tell if a car has taken on water using your sense of touch as well. Water can collect in many places that even the car dealer might miss, so it’s important to do a thorough examination. Touch the carpet of the vehicle for moisture and if it’s possible, peel the carpet back to see if you feel any wetness between the carpet and vehicle frame. Rust is another definitive sign of water damage.
  • Check the Trunk: Last but not least, examine the trunk where the spare tire is. If there is a collection of water in that compartment, you’re generally looking at a flood damaged car.


Trust River View Ford

Here at River View Ford, we want our customers to leave our lot with the utmost confidence in their used vehicle acquisitions. If you have any questions about any models in our inventory, give us a call at (630) 897-8900 or come visit our dealership in Oswego!

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