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Are Flood Damaged Cars Repairable? We Have The Answers

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

Table of Contents

There are a number of different types of cars you’ll find at a salvage lot or for sale online. One variety you’re sure to come across are cars that are being sold because they were damaged in a flood. As the price is often right, many people want to know, are they repairable? Keep reading to find out.

The Short Answer of Whether Flood Damaged Cars Are Repairable

Are Flood Damaged Vehicles Repairable
Are Flood Damaged Vehicles Repairable

The short answer to that question is almost always yes. Just about anything is repairable. However, the real question is whether or not it’s worth it. Repairing a car that’s been completely submerged is not going to be a cheap endeavor, to say the least. Lesser degrees of flooding will obviously cost less, meaning you need to consider the cost for yourself.

But let’s look at these factors in more depth.


First though, a word on the way the car looks.

Anyone car dealer who’s been at it for a while can generally make a once-flooded car look as though it’s as good as new. This is often how people find themselves with a lot less money and a subpar car.

If you don’t have the know-how to inspect a car on your own, find a professional who will do it on your behalf. You simply can’t trust the way a car looks.

Did It Reach the Engine?

Where the water got to in the car will play a big role. As we mentioned, if it reached the engine, this is information you want to know. It’s never a good idea to buy a car whose engine took on water, because you really can’t see all the damage that was done or that is potentially waiting to happen. You’d almost have to take the whole thing apart and use liberal amounts of WD-40 before you could be even halfway sure the engine was going to work.

Again, if the engine was running (i.e. if someone tried driving it through a flooded area), that engine is probably in trouble.

Did It Reach the Electric?

Here’s another question you need to ask. Just because the car turns on, doesn’t mean the electric is working perfectly. You’ll have to check everything from check engine lights to automatic windows and more. And again, even then it’s unsure.

Salt Water

Salt water makes it easy to walk away from a potential purchase. Water can get anywhere, as you know. But when it’s salt water it leaves deposits everywhere it goes. This spells corrosion for your car and, again, because it can hit every crevice, you’ll often be at a loss for finding it until the rust starts and you’re out of luck.

Check for Flood Stamps

Another easy way to know it might be beyond hope is by checking the title for a “Salvage” or “Flood” stamp. This means the insurance company, dealer or former owner considered repairing it and found it not worth the money. That’s definitely food for thought.

So there’s no one word answer, unfortunately. If you’re considering a flood damaged car, only buy from a reputable source, consider all the information and, if repairs are necessary, be sure you’re clear on the costs.

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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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