5 Ways to Identify Flood Damaged Cars

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

Table of Contents

Everyone knows floods can be extremely destructive, especially when they hit your home. But floods also damage cars on a regular basis. Often their owners then try to sell them. While some people think it’s best to go on a case by case basis when it comes to flood damaged cars, there are some consistent problems you should absolutely look for. Here they are.

Flood Stamps

Check the car’s title for a stamp that signifies it was flooded at one point or salvaged for it. If you find it, this means that some entity, like a bank, the owner or an insurance company, deemed the car beyond repairs because of the flood damage it took on. This doesn’t necessarily mean the car isn’t worth considering though. But it does mean that you need to check the car for major repairs since the flooding in order to address these issues.

Salt Water

If the car in question was flooded by salt water, there is no problem because there’s no point in buying the car. At least fresh water offers some hope of salvaging the vehicle. But salt water is extremely corrosive, especially when it gets its hands on metal. The problem is that even after the car has been dried out and “restored”, there can be salt deposits all over that you can’t see. Basically, wherever the water could get to, there’s now salt. It could take less than a few months for that salt to become rust and spread throughout the car causing aesthetic or even mechanical problems.

Reselling It

Even if you’re able to pick the one diamond in the rough in terms of flooded cars, consider your chances of reselling it later. Not only will you have put more miles on it, but you’ll have to tell potential buyers that it was once flooded. If they’re hoping to get a loan for their purchase, it’s unlikely most banks will oblige.

And that’s the best case scenario. If you buy the car and it dies on you immediately or won’t work for some other reasons, you’re pretty much stuck with a junker no one is going to purchase.

Electrical Problems

The effects of flood damage can rear their ugly head long after you buy your car and have been driving it around. In fact, some electrical problems can take a year or more before they become obvious. Of course, once they do, you’ll notice them right away. Most likely, major parts of your car won’t work and you’ll be stuck with an unsellable car.

The Engine

Floods can do a number on engines, especially if the previous owner didn’t know any better and tried starting it a number of times. Water doesn’t compress like air does, after all. This is one of those repairs to look for we mentioned earlier. An engine that was flooded will need massive amounts of work done on it before it will work correctly.

If the engine isn’t rebuilt or replaced, expect problems down the line. More than likely you’re on borrowed time with that thing. Engines just weren’t meant to be swallowed up by water.

Here at Cash Auto Salvage, we will buy your flooded car, truck, or SUV. Give us a call at 855-540-4649 for a free quote on your flood damaged vehicle.

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About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

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