Should I Consider Buying a Flood-Damaged Car?

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - April 23, 2019

Even if you find the best deal ever on a car, don't even think about buying it if it's been in a flood. The telltale signs of a flood-damaged vehicle may be able to get wiped away on the surface, but lingering damage could be hiding where you least expect it.

What Does Flood Damage Mean?

The problem with a lot of the damage done from flood waters is that it can't be seen – either because the damage is internal, or it hasn't been done – yet. This is an even bigger problem than you might think because once the damage does present itself, it could be beyond repair. Worse yet, unseen damage from flood waters could be hazardous to your health and safety.

Moisture from a flood can take weeks, or even months, to present problems in a car. Damage can hide in all the materials of the vehicle. Soft, porous surfaces like seats, carpeting, and headliners can be cleaned and may not show the signs of things like mold that could be lurking underneath. That's just the interior – think about all the nooks and crannies moisture could be hiding in under the hood, body, and in the trunk.

Some of the hidden dangers that could be wrong with flood-damaged cars include:

  • Shorts in electrical systems – As time goes by, moisture hidden under fuses or in electrical tape can cause damage to computers and electrical systems throughout a vehicle. It can affect something as small as power-seat controls, or something as major as the engine control unit (ECU), or brain of the engine.
  • Corrosion – Rust and corrosion can eat away at the battery, the bolt and screws holding things in place, and even the body of the vehicle itself. It can be especially damaging if a car was submerged in saltwater. You may only see a fleck of rust, but your foot could go right through the floorpan of the vehicle if the body is significantly weakened.
  • Air intake/engine – Your car relies on air compression as part of the process to run. If the air intake is filled with water, the resulting compression can bend or break rods and damage pistons, destroying your engine.
  • Fluids – The fluids in your vehicle are very different from water. Water can break down the lubrication properties of things like oil, and ruin the gasoline in a car.
  • Filters – Filters that have sat in water can't do their jobs well, even after they've dried. Flood-damaged air filters also make a wonderful breeding ground for mold and mildew.
  • Mold and mildew – These can pose a big health risk. The exposure to mold can cause issues such as allergic reactions, asthma, respiratory conditions, coughing, wheezing, and eye and skin irritation. Mold and mildew can hide anywhere moisture can get to in a vehicle, such as inside door panels, under the dash, and under the carpeting of a trunk.

Before You Consider a Flood-Damaged Car

When it comes down to it, no price is ever good enough to risk driving a known flood car. If the price is drawing you in because you're having trouble getting the auto financing you need due to bad credit, CarsDirect wants to help.

We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that have the lending resources available to help people in many challenging credit situations. Don't think twice about that risky flood-damaged vehicle, fill out our fast, free, and easy online car loan request form instead! It only takes a few minutes, and we'll get right to work connecting you with a local dealer.

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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