Six steps to take to avoid buying a flooded car

Hundreds of thousands of water damaged cars are expected to hit the used car market following hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Carfax estimates there are already as many as 325,000 flood-damaged cars on the road from past storms.

These are vehicles that a Carfax spokesman says are rotting from the inside out.

So how do you make sure you don’t end up with one of them?

There are steps you can take to avoid buying one of these water-logged rides.

  • Vehicle history – A good place to start is with the vehicle’s history.  Once an insurer covers flood damage, the history will show the car’s status as a salvaged car.   Carfax has opened up its database after Harvey so you can get a free flood check on a vehicle.  Just click here.
  • Check carpet – Look for any signs of water.  Also, new carpet or upholstery could be a red flag.
  • Check power windows – Make sure the windows work.  If they don’t, it could be a sign of electrical damage.
  • Check headlights and tail lights – Look for any signs of the lights having been underwater.
  • Smell inside car – Don’t overlook the value of the smell test.  Take a sniff inside the vehicle for any musty odors.
  • Take it to a mechanic – If possible, have a mechanic check the car out to make sure it hasn’t sustained water damage.