Oct 4, 2017

3 Steps to Avoid Purchasing a Flood Damaged Vehicle

auto flood damage

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey are proving to be some of the most catastrophic storms in United States history. A recent article estimated there to be over $1 million in vehicle damage in Texas and Florida. Of these damaged vehicles there is no doubt that some will be purchased and moved around the country to be sold in used vehicle lots. 

Although it is not against the law to sell flood damaged vehicles, the seller must label the vehicle as "flood salvaged" or as having a "flood title", and be completely transparent with the buyer. A salvaged vehicles means that it has been deemed a total loss, and a "flood title" means that the vehicle was sitting in water deep enough to enter the engine compartment. 

There are multiple resources that are available for the public to help you know whether or not the care you're purchasing as been labeled with either of the above titles, like this FREE flood check report from Carfax. Make sure to ask for a full vehicle history report, and check out these three easy steps to avoid being tricked into buying a flood damaged vehicle. 

Step 1: Use your eyes  

Look for sign of water damage that may have been covered up. These are common signs in previously flooded vehicles:

  • Discolored carpeting 
  • New upholstery in an older model 
  • Dirt or mud in unusually places, specifically the glove box or alternator crevices 
  • Rusty springs below seats 

Step 2: Use your nose  

Different smells can be good indicators that there is flood damage in a vehicle, and can be harder to hide. If you open the car doors and immediately smell a moldy scent it is likely that the car has been flooded. If you aren't sure don't be afraid to ask your dealer if you can sit in the car for a few minutes with the doors and windows closed. As be wary of strong perfumes or air fresheners that might be being used to cover up a moldy mildew scent. 

Step 3: Use your ears 

If you are shopping for a used car and one in particular seems too good to be true, it is important that you verify the status. Double check that the vin number on the dash, matches the one on the inside of the door, and when in doubt ask for an independent mechanic to check out the vehicle in question. 

If you are looking to purchase a new, or used vehicle don't forget that Hughes Federal Credit is proud to offer our one-low-rate auto loan! Stop by one of our seven convenient locations, or apply online today.