In May, the massive Texas flooding left many with their cars submerged in water. It’s estimated that thousands of these flood damaged cars will hit the used car market soon. To spot water damage when buying a used vehicle, all you need to do is use your eyes, hands, and nose.

Buy with confidence. Have a qualified auto inspector check any used car. Order a vehicle inspection from CARCHEX today.

Read The Title, But Don’t Trust It Blindly

Before you buy any used car, make sure you carefully read the title. A lot of useful information can be found there, and it even might openly state that the car was damaged by flood or submersion. Car titles may also reveal if a vehicle was damaged by fire or hail. You might even find out that the car was salvaged, rebuilt, or designated as junk.

Even if the title looks clean, look carefully yourself for signs of water damage. Some unscrupulous vendors will produce false titles just to make a sale.

Look For Signs Of Water Damage

On the car upholstery, inspect for any unusual lines possibly left by stagnant water. Don’t’ forget to check the interior cabin ceiling and trunk as well. Another sign of flood damage is mold, and it appears as odd looking circles or patches. Water can hide in the spare tire storage area, so ask to look there too.

Feel For Signs Of Water Damage

Reach deep into the creases between seat cushions to check for moisture. If you push down hard on the floor carpets, you might be surprised to find water seeping through. Additionally, the underside of any folding seats should be examined.

Smell For Signs Of Water Damage

Make sure you sniff around the car… literally. A moldy smell means water has entered somewhere. If you smell a strong perfume or deodorizer, the vendor might be is trying to cover up something.

Consider A Qualified Inspection

Even if you follow these tips, you might miss signs of flood or other damage. Qualified car inspectors often detect defects that the untrained eye can miss. The other advantage to using an inspector is that you can evaluate cars that are far away from you.

Beware Of Scam Artists

It’s estimated that at least 10,000 cars were damaged in the Texas floods. There is already an alert to be on the lookout for dishonest vendors who try to sell these cars without giving the whole story. Protect yourself and don’t end up getting stuck with a flood damaged vehicle.

Buy any used car with confidence. Order a 155-point pre-purchase vehicle inspection from CARCHEX now.

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Published in CARCHEX Vehicle Inspection Resources by CARCHEX on June 19, 2015