How to spot a flood-damaged used car

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Hurricane Ida and its remnants left a path of destructive flooding in its wake across the eastern U.S. that destroyed thousands of cars and claimed several lives.


Fox News Autos has tips on what to do if you find yourself caught in rising waters, and what to do about your car when they subside, but there’s another issue that used car shoppers need to be aware of.

Despite laws preventing it, many totaled cars find their way onto the used car market, with sellers often trying to keep their histories secret from unsuspecting buyers. This issue may be worse than usual this year due to the ongoing shortage of new and used vehicles on the market.

Greg Kopf of auto parts marketplace offers a few tips for spotting a flood damaged car before you write the check.

-Check for obvious signs of water damage, including smells

-Look in the engine bay and under the vehicle for premature rust

-Check hard to clean spots on the upholstery and carpet for stains

-If possible, look under the carpet and inside the door panels for mud or other damage

-Test all of the electrical equipment to make sure it’s operating properly

-Do a background check with a service like CarFax which will tell you if it came from an affected area and consider it a red flag if the seller won’t provide a history report

Last but not least, you’ll want to take any car you have apprehensions about for a thorough test drive that may reveal issues that aren’t obvious from just kicking the tires.

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