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Pat Goss' Vehicle Inspection Tips

Inspect Cars For Flood Damage

There are many places to look for a good used car including online sites, your local newspaper or the lot of a used car dealer. Anytime you are considering buying a used car, you should always have it inspected by a qualified mechanic that you--not the seller--hires. There are a huge variety of things a mechanic should check when inspecting a car including its brakes, tires, wiring and transmission. But finding clues of flood damage in a car takes a special eye.

Inspecting a car before you buy--even a new car--should always include looking for signs of flooding, especially in light of recent weather disasters in the U.S. A car or truck cannot be submerged in water and not suffer serious harm such as electronic damage, rust, corrosion, rotting and the compromise of safety systems, such as airbags and sensors.

Just because a car has a license plate in your state doesn't mean it's not originally from a place like Florida or Louisiana. The best way to test for flood damage is to hire a qualified mechanic who knows the particular signs of water damage. But, here are a few things you can look for yourself:

  • Wetness inside turn signal lamps--or a water line that's visible.
  • Mud or silt inside the wheel wells.
  • Moisture inside the car in the glove compartment or water lines on the dashboard.

If someone trying to sell you a used car won't let you look beneath the hood or in the trunk, you should walk away no matter how much you may want that particular car.

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