Tips for spotting a flood-damaged vehicle


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – With hundreds of cars being flooded across North Carolina during Hurricane Matthew, how do you know the next car you purchase is not one of them?

Taking steps like having a mechanic inspect the vehicle or obtaining the vehicle’s history report. The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers a free database to check on flood damage.

A visual inspection of the car can help, too.

  • Check for fogging inside the head and taillights.
  • Look for water lines and debris on the engine and inside the vehicle.
  • Be aware of stains and discoloration on fabric.
  • Metal exposed to the flood waters will rust and create bubbles in the paint.

Also, check the oil. Water in the engine will change the color of the oil.

Pull out seatbelts and feel for moisture and look for it on the inside of the car’s glass.

Be aware of damp smell – or too much fragrance that might be masking an odor.

“You may be able to cover it up a little bit, but it will always have that bad smell. You know, you may sell a flood vehicle in North Carolina, as long as the buyer is advised of that flood and they know what they’re getting into,” said J.D. Walters with the DMV License and Theft.

The seller must give the buyer a damage disclosure or the seller could face jail time.

Also, look at the title – many of them will be branded “water flood damage”

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