Identifying flood damaged vehicles destroyed by Hurricane Sandy is easy when you look at photographs of cars, trucks, and taxis floating in the water. But how do you spot flood damaged cars after the waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy have receded? As the east coast dries and private sellers and used car lots take stock, it's a question every potential buyer should consider.
Ways to Identify Flood Damaged Cars
Because insurance companies are now required to register vehicles that are a total loss due to flood damage, one of your first stops before you buy a used car should be to obtain the vin number and check it in a database like Vehiclehistory.gov or the Carfax Flood Check.
However such steps only work when a flood-damaged car has an insurance claim made after it has been flooded. For all those vehicles without insurance with nobody to file a claim to, or vehicles with title fraud, how do you separate these salty lemons from clean titled cars? The best means is to go under the hood. Here are a few hard to hide places to take a quick peak:
-Mismatched or water stained upholstery
-Water in headlamps or instrument enclosures
-Does it smell Moldy
-Dirt in remote areas, glove boxes, seat belt tracks, etc
What Does it All Mean
The common theme is that the more remote and difficult a spot is to clean, the better the chances of clues left behind. Of course if you taken out an auto loan for a used car and want to be sure the car you pick is clean, get a mechanic to get inside and look at the really hard to clean spaces and check all the electrical.
Salt water flood damage storms like Sandy leaves behind destroys electrical systems and fried safety equipment not to mention rusty frames. However it's not uncommon for such unsafely damaged cars to turn up for sale hundreds of miles from their original home. If you find some cheap used trucks or cars that may seem too good to be sure, get it checked out and verify it yourself. Don't trust some third party seller with your safety.