Checking for Flood Damage in a Used Car
March 26, 2011
We all know that automobiles are not built to last forever, and that no car is indestructible; we hope for our personal vehicles to last as long as possible, but we know that things happen, and that, eventually, even the best-made car is going to start falling apart.
We keep this in mind especially as we are shopping for a used vehicle. We know that any car that has already been on the road could potentially have problems, and we try to protect ourselves from purchasing a lousy vehicle by checking under the hood, inspecting the tires, and making sure that things like the heating and air conditioning work. We ensure that the seatbelts fasten, the doors close, and the upholstery is not soiled or stained. We make an effort, in short, to check for any possible damage that the car could have received.
But here's something you may not think of: checking the vehicle for flood damage. This is, admittedly, not the first thing that comes to mind when inspecting a new car, and in most cases it is not going to be an issue, but it is nevertheless something that the smart consumer will be wary of. Checking for flood damage is easy, and can save you lots of money in the long run.
The trouble with flood damage is that you might not notice it if you aren't looking for it, but it can still be there and cause damage in the long run. Basically, water gets into different components of your car, and while they may continue to work fine for a long time, the water has a corrosive effect that may gradually wear away at them, causing problems in the future.
So how do you detect flood damage? Well, for starters, use your nose! The smell of mildew is always a bad sign, and if you pick up on it, there is likely some water damage somewhere in the vehicle. Water stains on the seats or the doors of the vehicle are also a negative omen, of course, as well as any indication of moisture under the carpet.
There are also a couple of less obvious indicators of flood damage—both easy things to check that might save you from having to make costly repairs down the road. First, look at the door speakers, if indeed there are any; corrosion to the diaphragm of these speakers is a clear indicator of water damage. Second, look at the oil and the transmission fluid. If the color is that of coffee with milk in it, you may be witnessing the effects of water where it shouldn't be.
These are all simple enough precautions to take, but, in the long term, they could end up saving you huge amounts of money. This sort of water damage is expensive to fix but easy to detect, and so the consumer is advised to simply be vigilant when inspecting a vehicle and avoid buying any car that has seen too much flooding.
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