How to avoid buying a flood-damaged car

Vehicles that have been damaged in floods are not as easy to identify as it may seem, since such vehicles’ titles are often changed, and they are shipped to be sold to other states after some superficial body work is performed to conceal the flood damage. There are tip-offs that a buyer can look for to identify such a vehicle, however.

Vehicle history reports often find records of flood damage, but if one doesn’t exist for a possible purchase, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the car hasn’t been damaged in a flood.

Moldy odors inside the vehicle are a clue, along with interior carpeting discoloration from water damage. Brand-new upholstery may also be suspicious, since it might have been installed by a previous owner trying to hide water damage.

Looking for dirt or caked mud build-up in unusual areas on the vehicle can be helpful, too. The vehicle’s undercarriage can be inspected with a flashlight to check for tell-tale signs of rusting or metal flakes.

Consumers that have found the perfect used car but fear their bad credit history will pose an obstacle to the car’s purchase can fill out a bad credit auto loan application.