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How to Identify a Flood Damaged Vehicle

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How to Identify a Flood Damaged Vehicle

It is important for those considering the purchase of a used vehicle to be car care aware and check for signs of water intrusion or contamination, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

"Purchasing a used vehicle and later learning it has been flood damaged can be very problematic and lead to costly issues down the road. Worst yet, these vehicles can be unhealthy to occupy because of mold and bacteria growing in the carpet and ventilation system," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council and the Car Care Professionals Network (CCPN), a network of professional automotive service providers, say it all comes down to how much water the vehicle took in and where it can be reached and together recommend taking the following steps to determine if a vehicle has been flood damaged:

  • Take the sniff test. Close all the windows and doors and let the car sit for about five minutes then crack open a door and sniff. Mildew and mold have very distinctive smells and it doesn't take long for that smell to present itself.
  • Try the touch test. Get some paper towels and press them against the low spots in the carpet. The paper towels will draw the moisture out and reveal if the carpet is wet under the surface. Some carpets can be several inches thick to insulate from heat and sound. If the paper towel becomes wet it could mean water has gotten into the car.
  • Investigate the interior. Look under the seats and dash for corrosion and rust and look for exposed metal that is untreated. There are metal springs under the front seats that are usually not painted. If they are rusted that is a sign the interior has been wet. Look for mud and debris in places it does not belong.
  • Inspect the instrument panel. Turn on the key and perform a bulb test. Make sure every bulb lights up. If a system has an issue, removing the warning bulb can hide it. Many times vehicles that have flooded have malfunctions in their anti-brake and air bag systems. Ensuring the light comes on and then goes out after the bulb test is an indicator that the system is on and has no active faults.
  • Take it to a professional. Let a service and repair technician inspect your vehicle. They can raise the car and look underneath to see if there is any mud, sticks or rocks in the suspension. A professional can check the oil in the differentials to make sure they contain no water in them. Spend a few dollars to have it looked over to give you peace of mind.

Source: Car Car Council

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    Car & Truck Care, near Warner Robins, GA
    , 05/18/2020

    Friendly, professional mechanics that don't rip you off--a godsend in this day and age. They explain to you what went wrong and how they can fix it and give you options as far as parts go, with their own honest opinions.

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    Car & Truck Care, near Warner Robins, GA
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Warner Robins
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    Car & Truck Care, near Warner Robins, GA
    , 03/06/2019

    Calhoun Automotive, Bryan= Owner, has been working on my vehicles for many years, the latest being today. He has always performed in a professional manner with outstanding knowledge of diagnosing the problem. Never has he accomplished any work that was not needed. In fact he has advised not to replace an item that I thought had failed. That is true honesty. Something that is very difficult finding in todays market with attitudes of being selfish so why should I consider others. Bryan has always done what he thought was right by the customer and vehicle. Great work Bryan. Keep it up and don't change.

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    Car & Truck Care, near Warner Robins, GA
    , 05/29/2018

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Warner Robins
  • , 05/04/2018

    Calhoun has worked on several cars of mine over the years. Great work.

  • , 05/18/2020

    Friendly, professional mechanics that don't rip you off--a godsend in this day and age. They explain to you what went wrong and how they can fix it and give you options as far as parts go, with their own honest opinions.

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