Don’t Get Soaked When Repairing or Buying a Flooded Car

driving in flooded areasOverflowing Roadways caused by Flash Flooding in the Midwest causes frequent damage to vehicles.

Even a little bit of water damage goes a long way in causing serious damage both inside and out.


How do you know if your car has received significant water damage?

And how do you ensure you don’t get sunk by buying a water-damaged vehicle?

CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts, the nation’s largest family of auto body experts, sees a number of water-damaged vehicles at its repair centers and knows the warning signs of an excessive soaking.

“Flood waters don’t just get the vehicle wet, they totally soak the electronics, the mechanics of the car and the interior, leaving behind dirt deposits, rust, mildew and more,” said Dean Fisher, auto body expert, owner of CARSTAR Yorkville in Chicago and member of the CARSTAR National Advisory Board. “Repairing a vehicle that has been through a flood is a challenge that should be left to a true auto body expert. You really need to know what to look for if you are repairing a flood-damaged car or considering buying one.”

Auto industry experts caution consumers that the risk of buying a water-damaged car is not limited to the storm and flood-ravaged areas. Damaged cars are often repaired cosmetically and moved to adjacent states or other areas of the country where many are sold to unsuspecting consumers. These floodwaters can cause damage to a vehicle’s computer and electrical systems, as well as potentially causing anti-lock braking and airbag systems to malfunction.

Look for the following damage when having a flood-damaged vehicle repaired or when buying a used car:

► Examine upholstery and carpeting closely; if it doesn’t match the interior or fits loosely, it may have been replaced. Discolored, faded or stained materials could indicate water damage.

► Smell for musty odors – this could mean mildew.

► Check the trunk, glove compartment, the dashboard and below the seats for signs of water damage such as silt, mud or rust.

► Turn the ignition key and make sure that accessory and warning lights and gauges come on and work properly. Make sure the airbag and ABS lights come on.

► Test lights (interior and exterior), windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work.

► Flex some of the wires beneath the dashboard. Wet wires will become brittle upon drying and may crack

► Look for rust in the wheel wells, under the hood and under the rear of the car.

► Go to a trusted mechanic for an inspection. Always get vehicles checked BEFORE handing over any money.


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