Buying a Used Car? 5 Ways to Tell If It’s Been Flooded

It's rainy season once again, and as expected, flooding has affected many vehicles on the road. If you're shopping for a used car, know that buying a previously flooded vehicle could mean headaches and expensive repairs for you down the road, so you must learn to avoid them at all costs. When looking at a used car, make sure to practice the following five steps to determine if it has been damaged by flood.

Lock yourself in, and take a whiff

Get in the car, close all the windows and doors, and take a sniff. Mold and mildew have a very musty smell that's easy to identify. With all the windows and doors shut, it won't take long for that familiar stuffy odor to present itself.

Press on the floor upholstery

Touch the low spots in the carpet flooring. Does it feel damp? If you're not sure, press a paper towel on the same surface. A paper towel's absorbent properties will attract moisture and reveal if the carpet is holding moisture.

Check the metal parts for corrosion

Check under the dashboard and seats for rust. Front seats usually have untreated metal springs underneath, and their exposed nature makes them highly prone to corrosion at the first signs of moisture. If the springs have significant rust on them, that's a sign the interior has been immersed. Look for the accumulation of mud and debris in nooks and corners to confirm.

Inspect the lights

Turn the ignition to on (not start) and check all the bulbs. Make sure they all light up. Check the lights on the instrument panel as well. Electrical systems hate water, and ensuring all the lights turn on and off after the bulb test will tell you that the wires has no active problems. Be sure to check the car's other electrical components as well.

Have a professional technician take a gander

If the signs of flood damage are barely noticeable but you still have doubts, it's time to call in an expert to inspect the vehicle. A professional automotive technician will know what to look for and be able to tell sure signs of flood exposure due to experience. Of course, you'll have to shell out a few hundred (or thousand) pesos for expert opinion, but it will be money well-spent if you can confirm whether or not the used car you're looking at has been flood-damaged.

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