Clock icon

Best Auto Repair, Chicago

Clock icon

How to Identify a Flood Damaged Vehicle

 29 Verified Review(s)

It is important for those considering the purchase of a used vehicle to be car care aware and check for signs of water intrusion or contamination, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

"Purchasing a used vehicle and later learning it has been flood damaged can be very problematic and lead to costly issues down the road. Worst yet, these vehicles can be unhealthy to occupy because of mold and bacteria growing in the carpet and ventilation system," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council and the Car Care Professionals Network (CCPN), a network of professional automotive service providers, say it all comes down to how much water the vehicle took in and where it can be reached and together recommend taking the following steps to determine if a vehicle has been flood damaged:

  • Take the sniff test. Close all the windows and doors and let the car sit for about five minutes then crack open a door and sniff. Mildew and mold have very distinctive smells and it doesn't take long for that smell to present itself.
  • Try the touch test. Get some paper towels and press them against the low spots in the carpet. The paper towels will draw the moisture out and reveal if the carpet is wet under the surface. Some carpets can be several inches thick to insulate from heat and sound. If the paper towel becomes wet it could mean water has gotten into the car.
  • Investigate the interior. Look under the seats and dash for corrosion and rust and look for exposed metal that is untreated. There are metal springs under the front seats that are usually not painted. If they are rusted that is a sign the interior has been wet. Look for mud and debris in places it does not belong.
  • Inspect the instrument panel. Turn on the key and perform a bulb test. Make sure every bulb lights up. If a system has an issue, removing the warning bulb can hide it. Many times vehicles that have flooded have malfunctions in their anti-brake and air bag systems. Ensuring the light comes on and then goes out after the bulb test is an indicator that the system is on and has no active faults.
  • Take it to a professional. Let a service and repair technician inspect your vehicle. They can raise the car and look underneath to see if there is any mud, sticks or rocks in the suspension. A professional can check the oil in the differentials to make sure they contain no water in them. Spend a few dollars to have it looked over to give you peace of mind.

Source: Car Car Council


what our customers say

I was having an issue with my Saab. I took it to different shops and nobody could figure out my issue. After speaking with Luke, he inspected it and figured out I had a transmission issue. Had it replaced, now my car is good as new!!! Thank you Luke for the great service!!!
J
, 07/08/2022

The customer service was great and prices seem reasonable. Great and quick service. The waiting area is very clean and comfortable.
, 07/08/2022

Luke and ricky really made me feel at ease comfortable sending the wife in for service knowing she could of been taken advantage of for being a women completely opposite at this shop. she got there they called me made feel at ease listened to my request took all my info and communicated with me and my wife through out the process . Definitely returning for more service being new to the area i found my shop super grateful.
G
, 07/08/2022

I needed some work done on my car. I called in and talked to Brandon. He was very knowledgeable, professional, and personable. I ended up booking my car service. My car was well taken care of. Fair pricing and honest work. My new place to go for car services.
J
, 07/07/2022

Went there for an oil change and Luke was incredibly helpful. Their waiting room is modern and their staff went above and beyond to make you feel welcome. 10/10
S
, 06/22/2022

This is my Volvo mechanic since 1995. Between my son, and myself we have had 7 Volvo's. Always great service with fair prices. A great sign of a good business is a very busy one. This place is packed all the time, yet he manages to give great service every time.
R
, 06/08/2022

  • World Pac
  • BG Products
  • Interstate Batteries
  • Volvo
  • Bilstein
  • Liqui Moly
  • Zimmermann
  • Brembo
  • Fuchs
  • Ssachs
  • Car Care Aware
TAP TO CALL NOW 773-235-0176 X