How to Protect Yourself From Buying a Flooded Car?

Natural disasters’ effects last a long time after the disaster ends. Lives are lost and there is always huge damage to properties, cars and the place’s infrastructure.

Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian is said to be the worst natural disaster in US history. Not only that, it was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. This post-tropical storm formed at the end of August and it appeared in the Bahamas in the beginning of September. A few days later moved up to eastern Canada, where it ended on September 10th. Around 70 lives were lost because of hurricane Dorian and the damage is estimated to be about $8 billion. This category 5 hurricane swept away thousands of houses and it is estimated that it damaged more than 30,000 homes.

The records show that more than 400,000 vehicles were damaged during the storm. Some of them were damaged beyond repair, and some of them could be repaired and can appear on the market.

Buying a car

When we buy a new car there are several things we think of. The first one is, of course, safety. We want to be sure that the car we buy is going to protect us and the people in the car in case of an accident.

The second thing is how much money we’d have to spend on gas. Everyone wants to save a few dimes if it is possible. The third thing is the hope that we won’t have to change the car in the next few years unless we have the money to buy a new one and want to make that investment. Not everyone can afford to buy a brand-new car and that is why many turn to car dealerships to buy a used car.

The good thing about used cars is that they are a lot cheaper and we know we can buy it, drive it for some time and then sell it again. Used cars allow us to buy and sell a lot of different ones and we won’t have to use the same car for many years to come.

Be aware when buying a used car

Unfortunately, there are many people who want to trick others and sell things that are not in good condition. After hurricane Dorian, there were a lot of cars that were flooded and damaged in the storm. The ones that could be repaired somehow found their way back on the market. Some of the sellers are nice enough and tell the truth, that the car was flooded and what should be done when repairing it. Others are not so nice and sell the used cars as if they are in mint condition. That is why you need to pay a lot of attention when buying a new car. There are some things you can do to notice if the car you want to buy was flooded in the storm.

How to tell if the car was flooded

There are several ways to check if the car was flooded before buying it. Make sure you always do these checks, it’s better to wait a day or two before getting the car than to buy a car that will make you lose a lot of money and that will endanger your safety.

Inspect the interior

One of the first tells that show the car has been flooded is the car smell. Most of the flooded cars have a moldy smell. But, if you notice that the car smells better than it should, that could also be a sign. Pull back the carpets and check for water stains. Another thing you should pay attention to are the glove compartment, under the dashboard and in between sets. Check these places for debris, residual sludge or water stains.

Check the vehicle identification number

Before buying a used car always check the vehicle identification number. There are a lot of places you can do that online. Some of them require a small sum of money to do the check, but luckily, you can do that for free in other places. VinFreeCheck offers you the possibility to see if the car was damaged or flooded before buying it. Vin Lookup is important because it searches the database for all the states and gives you a report on the real-time market price and the detailed vehicle history. You can learn more about the car you want to buy by checking VinFreeCheck.

Check the lights

The moisture and fog can build up in the light fixtures after the car is flooded. This is a hard place to reach and most people don’t remove the moisture when they try to resell. It is said that a visible line should be seen on the reflector or the car lens.

Inspect the wiring

Most cars that are damaged by floods have issues with the electronic. Make sure to check if the windows are working as they should if the car can be unlocked with the key from a distance and see if the electrical wiring has suspicious corrosion, rusted components or water residue.

Check under the vehicle

Before buying a car, make sure to check underneath it. Make sure that there is no rust since vehicles that are new or operated in warmer climate areas do not have any type of rust under it. If you see rusty parts it means that the car is really old or that it was damaged by floodwater.

Get the vehicle checked by a mechanic

If you’ve done all the preliminary checks on your own and you think the car is a good deal, always have a mechanic you trust check the car. They are professionals and they will know if the car was damaged by the flood. Make sure you choose a person you trust and not just a person who will tell you the vehicle is good and then earn money when they fix it for you over and over again.

Buying a used car is stressful enough on its own, so before spending a few thousand dollars, make sure you’re getting the car you want. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Flooded vehicles are usually cheaper than the rest so they can be sold a lot faster. Make all the necessary checks, consult with a professional and don’t fall on nice words and friendly faces. The most important thing is to stay safe and to make sure that you and your loved ones will make great memories and travel to amazing places with that new car.


Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the started.