7 tips to detect hidden problems when buying a used car

FLOOD DAMAGED cars are becoming more prevalent as storms like Hurricane Ian have triggered hundreds of flood insurance claims.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure you don’t select a used vehicle with this specific type of damage.

A line of used vehicles for sale at a dealership


A line of used vehicles for sale at a dealershipCredit: Getty

Flood-damaged car interiors tend to contain a musty or musty odor.

You’re most likely to find these odors in vehicle floor mats and seats, Torque News reports.

Other cars may reveal flood damage when you look at the seats.

Seat mounting bolts that appeared to have been tampered with to dry out the carpet or replace the seats may have been removed.

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All car seats are installed with four bolts that connect the seat to the vehicle floor, in accordance with my auction sheet.

Tampered seat bolts may not be secure or may contain rust from previous water.

Checking the interior of a vehicle for flood damage should include access to the trunk area.

Bad odors and rusty bolts inside a trunk are two major red flags.

Flood water can wreak havoc on a car’s electrical system due to corrosion.

Be sure to test each electrical component with a used vehicle you’re considering to cover your bases.

When evaluating the exterior of a used vehicle, foggy headlights and taillights may appear due to water buildup, according to how things work.

Other obvious signs of flooding include water lines and the presence of debris such as mud or grass.

These steps protect you if any flood damage is not documented on your vehicle history report.

You can separately check if a car was destroyed by flood by contacting the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Flood damage becomes easier to spot in a used vehicle when you know exactly what to look for.


Flood damage becomes easier to spot in a used vehicle when you know exactly what to look for.Credit: Getty

Drivers check a model’s vehicle identification number (VIN) against the NICB database to verify whether or not the car is a salvage vehicle, according to HowStuffWorks.

Salvaged vehicles are considered too damaged to be worth repairing.

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