Shopping for a New Car? Here’s How to Spot a Flood Damaged Vehicle…

We are thankful to be partnering with YourMechanic to bring you this sponsored post. If you’re in the market for a new car, we hope these tips and the promo code below will prove valuable to you too!

It’s estimated that as many as half a million cars were flooded during Hurricane Harvey. Some of these cars were declared totaled and hauled off to junk yards as you’d expect — but not all. Inevitably, insurance and auction representatives were processing vehicles for resale, just shortly after the hurricane.

Flood damaged cars raise a lot of questions from both owners and used car buyers…. Owners of flood damaged cars want to know what to do with their vehicle. While on the other hand, used car buyers want to know how to spot and avoid a flood damaged vehicle. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, it’s good to know the answers. So we’re teaming up with YourMechanic, our favorite Mobile Mechanic service for us busy, on-the-go moms, and their experienced, ASE-certified mechanic for those answers. 

Shopping for a New Car? Here's How to Spot a Flood Damaged Vehicle... | Houston Moms Blog

What happens to a flood damaged car?

There are two types of flood damage: fresh water and salt water. Obviously, salt water is more damaging, as it leads to extensive rust and corrosion. But both can cripple a vehicle, especially if the vehicle has been completely submerged under water.

Basically, when a vehicle is submerged in water, every part of it is compromised.

  • Exterior: The exterior paint and trim can be damaged by water – especially salt water.
  • Interior: Once an interior gets soaked, it can retain damage even after it dries out. The upholstery can become moldy, trim pieces can lose their adhesive, etc. Also, the car may never lose that ‘lake bottom’ smell.
  • Electrical: Modern cars have dozens of computers on board. Anyone who’s spilled a cup of coffee onto their laptop, knows computers don’t react well to liquid intrusion. Vehicle computers and electronics are often damaged beyond repair during a flood. Water damage causes electrical gremlins that are impossible to hunt down.
  • Engine Compartment: Here’s a nasty word: hydrolock. That’s what happens to an engine that’s running during a flood. Water enters through the air intake and once it gets into the engine, it has nowhere to go. Since water doesn’t compress, the connecting rods will bend as the piston travels towards the top of the cylinder. After that happens, your engine is as useless as a cup of decaf coffee.

Although a flood damage car can be repaired {anything can be fixed with enough effort}, it will most likely never be the same again.

Should you buy a reconditioned flood car?

You hear of people flipping flood cars online, surely you can too. No – don’t do it. Flood damaged cars may have been reconditioned to look nice, but that’s just putting lipstick on a pig. Flooded vehicles have hidden damage that even the best mechanics can’t find. These hidden problems can haunt you and your vehicle for years to come.

How do you check for water damage?

By law, flood-damaged vehicles are required wear the scarlet letter ‘flooded’ on their title. But, of course, there are unscrupulous individuals pawning off flooded cars on unassuming buyers. According to NADA, this is what to look for when you suspect a car may have flood damage.

  • Check the vehicle history. Carfax is cheap insurance. Running a vehicle history report often reveals whether a vehicle has been flooded. Vehicle history reports may also hint at signs of flood damage. For example, a vehicle may be registered in a flood state {such as Texas}, then quickly be re-registered in another state {like sunny California}.
  • Inspect the interior and engine compartment for signs of water intrusion. Note if the carpet has a musty odor.
  • Look under the carpet for water residue and stain marks.
  • Check for interior rust. Obviously, the interior isn’t exposed to the elements. There shouldn’t be any rust inside the vehicle unless it went for a swim. Check for rusty bolts and screws.
  • Look under the dash for rust, mud or other debris.
  • Examine the engine compartment for mud or grit in cervices, behind wiring harnesses and around recesses.
  • Inspect wiring for corrosion, rust, and water staining.
  • Check for rust and corrosions not typically found in late model vehicles. For example, a 2015 model shouldn’t look like it’s endured a decade of Minnesota winters.

Above all else, hiring an inspection agency is the absolute best way to check for flood damage. Pre-purchase inspectors have years’ worth of experience and can eliminate the guessing game for you.

Shopping for a New Car? Here's How to Spot a Flood Damaged Vehicle... | Houston Moms Blog

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, we cannot recommend YourMechanic enough.  Committed to helping Houstonians avoid purchasing a flooded vehicle, YourMechanic will send one of their professional mechanics TO YOU — whether it be a home, office, or dealership — to perform their 150-point Pre-Purchase Inspection.  {To get the FULL scoop on all that this entails, the details and perks of their Pre-Purchase Inspections can be found here.} Knowing the financial struggles that many Houstonians are facing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, YourMechanic is also offering a special promo code to make this cautionary step affordable for everyone too… 

 Use Promo Code HOUSTONPPI to receive a 20% discount on YourMechanic’s pre-purchase inspection.  

{Offer is valid until November 13, 2017  for all customers in Houston and the surrounding areas.}

Shopping for a New Car? Here's How to Spot a Flood Damaged Vehicle... | Houston Moms Blog

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Tiffanie V
Tiffanie, originally from East Texas, has called Houston home for over 10 years now. She and her husband met during undergraduate studies at Stephen F. Austin State University. They have one son, Preston {Jan 2011}, who was born with a very rare congenital heart condition and underwent a very successful open heart surgery at Houston's own Texas Children's Hospital when he was just two days old. In October 2013, Tiffanie welcomed a daughter, Hadley, into this world. She adores seeing life and this great city through the eyes of her children. She is a practicing physician assistant, passionate about Endocrinology and diabetes. Committed to connecting moms and families to all the fabulousness of this great city, Tiffanie started serving as our Sponsorship Coordinator in January 2014. Her days are now filled to the brim with taking care of her family, her patients, fielding sales calls, and scheduling sponsored posts. Her favorite pasttimes include drinking a full-bodied glass of red, retail therapy, a nice long run, and being near a beach - water soothes her.


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