Payday Loans Online No Credit Check Same DayHow to avoid buying a water-damaged car Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our aim is to assist you make better financial choices by offering interactive tools and financial calculators as well as publishing unique and impartial content. This allows you to conduct your own research and compare data for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers, including but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make money The products that are advertised on this site come from companies who pay us. This compensation can affect the way and where products are displayed on this site, including for instance, the order in which they may be listed within the categories of listing, except where prohibited by law for our loan products, such as mortgages and home equity and other home lending products. However, this compensation will affect the information we publish, or the reviews you read on this site. We do not cover the universe of companies or financial offerings that could be available to you. Luis Diaz Devesa/Getty Images

5 min read Published June 22, 2022

Written by Mia Taylor Written by Contributing Writer Mia Taylor is a contributor to Bankrate and an award-winning journalist who has two decades of experience and worked as a staff reporter or contributor for some of the nation’s leading newspapers and websites including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the San Diego Union-Tribune, TheStreet, MSN and Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the beginning of 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that break down complex subjects into bite-sized pieces. The Bankrate promise

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You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you manage your money for over four decades. We continually strive to give consumers the professional guidance and the tools necessary to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to strict standards standard of conduct, so you can rest assured that our content is truthful and precise. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content we create by our editorial staff is factual, objective and uninfluenced through our sponsors. We’re transparent about the ways we’re in a position to provide quality content, competitive rates and useful tools to you , by describing how we make money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated for the promotion of sponsored goods andservices or through you clicking specific links on our website. This compensation could impact how, where and when products appear in listing categories, with the exception of those it is prohibited by law regarding our mortgages, home equity and other home loan products. Other factors, such as our own rules for our website and whether or not a product is available within your region or within your self-selected credit score range could also affect how and where products appear on this site. Although we try to offer an array of offers, Bankrate does not include details about every financial or credit product or service. Car buyers throughout the nation may be impacted by catastrophic floods, if they do not know to purchase damaged cars. Used and new cars damaged by significant flood events such as the Hurricane Ida from 2021 can be brought to market after an event. Carfax information suggests that as many as 212,000 vehicles could be damaged due to the storm Ida. When flood-impacted cars are resold to buyers who are not aware of the damage, they often have expensive mechanical and electrical problems that surface several months later. Even if you don’t live in an area in which flooding is common, you can still inadvertently buy a car with water damage. Carfax research shows that water-damaged vehicles appear across all states, which means people from coast to coast are in danger of buying a flood-damaged car. How to tell if the car is damaged by water? Cars with water damage can be difficult to recognize. They are usually clean and can even run smoothly for a short time. But eventually you could encounter issues as cars that have been flooded decay from the inside out. Here are a few indicators that your car could be damaged by water: Musty odor the interior of water damaged cars will often smell musty. Some sellers will try to mask the smell with strong air fresheners but it can be very difficult to completely get rid of a car’s musty smell. One way to check how a car smells is to be inside and close the windows. Carpets that are damp or moist: Water damage can collect in areas that you can’t see such as underneath carpeting. Check the carpets all over the car and pat them to locate any possible moisture buildup. Examine the trunk too and remove the spare tire to look for any evidence of water under it. Carpeting that is stained or unmatched carpeting: Yet another sign that water has damaged your vehicle is to see a vehicle that has stained or loose carpeting and upholstery. Check for brown, blotchy streaks, which are indicators for water-related damage. When conducting inspections, compare carpeting on the floor with carpeting on the doors and the roof. All of them should appear like they’re of the same age and color. Rust: A vehicle with water damage may be rusty around the doors, under the hood, and even under the dashboard. Door hinges, screws or trunk latches as well as door handles could exhibit signs of rust. Brittle wires: Look under the dashboard in case you think a car may have water damage. Brittle wires can suggest that the car has been impacted by an event that caused water or other type. Fog or moisture beads: If a car’s interior lighting and instrument panel, as well as exterior lights appear to be hazy or contain moisture beads inside the lights, it could be a warning sign that the vehicle could be suffering from water damage. Mud or silt buildup: During flood events specifically, water can carry dirt and mud inside the vehicle. When the flood is over and the dirt is gone, it will be left behind. Some of the places to look for silt and mud include the glove compartment, trunk and under the dashboard and below seats. 4 tips to avoid buying a flooded car If you suspect that a vehicle may be damaged by flooding or water, it’s important to do research and determine whether your instincts are correct. There are numerous tools that can assist you in getting to the bottom of this important issue, and also signs to be alert for. 1. Check the history of your vehicle A vehicle history report can uncover issues with a car before you make a purchase. A clear indication of a damaged car can be seen in the way it is identified as an example. Departments of motor vehicle require permanent title marks for vehicles that were badly destroyed by floods. If the vehicle is declared to be totaled, it’s expected to receive the new title completely which is labelled “salvage” or “flood.” The title will be determined by the state, however the fact that this happened could be indicated by a numeric code. Carfax and Experian provide tools for flood checks that permit users to conduct an uncostly check of the background of a vehicle. These platforms simply require entering details about the VIN of the car to be checked. If you are looking over a car’s past take a look for cars that come from areas that have been damaged by floods. There is a National Insurance Crime Bureau also provides VIN checks online that permit consumers to find out whether the car is salvaged. You will want to examine a car’s history report to see if there is any indication that the car was sold several times over a short period of time. Be cautious of any history that includes buyers from multiple states. This could be an indication of what’s referred to as car “title washing,” when unscrupulous sellers alter the title of a car repeatedly to hide the car’s history. 2. Look for evidence of water damage. Cars which are submerged in water will often show evident signs, but they could be less obvious particularly if the car was cleaned prior to resale. Pay attention to musty or moldy smells, including those coming out of the control panel for the temperature. Note any stains that appear on the interior of the vehicle as well as the engine compartment and trunk. Sand, dirt or mud in odd places and seat belts that sound gritty when they are pulled or retracted are also indicators of damage from water. It’s also important to try driving a car in particular, particularly one that could be affected by flooding or water damage. Hints to watch out for when you test drive are malfunctioning electrical systems as well as infotainment systems, which will act up if they have been affected by water. You will also want to observe for smoke during your test drive. 3. Be cautious of vehicles that are priced lower than market value. There’s a good reason behind the adage about things being too great to be true. This includes cars being priced way below actual value. This is often a red flag that something is wrong. Find the average selling price for the vehicle you are considering buying on independent vehicle pricing sites such as Edmunds or Autotrader. A car that is new or used sold at a price that is lower than the market value is an sign that the seller is looking to sell the car. Buyers should tread cautiously when a vehicle is listed for a significant discount. Alongside asking questions about why the vehicle is listed for a lesser price than it ought to be, it may be an excellent idea to have the car evaluated by a professional who will identify any problems. 4. Get a professional inspection It’s always a good idea to hire a certified mechanic or automotive technician to thoroughly inspect a car prior to you purchase it, but it’s even more crucial to take this step to safeguard yourself from a possibly water-damaged vehicle. A professional will calm your mind, especially if the car you are contemplating buying has one or more of the signs that are listed in this article. Check that the inspection does not just include obvious indicators of water damage but as well a thorough examination of the electronic equipment, since problems with these systems can take months to surface. Although a pre-purchase inspection typically have to be paid by you, the prospective buyer, it’s an investment to prevent the buyer from buying the car that’s a lemon. You can expect to spend between $100 and $200 to have an inspection. What should you do if you bought a water-damaged car If you’ve purchased a vehicle that has water damage all might remain intact. You can repair the vehicle with an experienced mechanic. But remember, these are not do-it-yourself fixes. You’ll need a professional who has extensive knowledge of cars. It’s also worth bearing in mind that repairing a flood-damaged vehicle will not cost a lot, so you’ll want to determine whether the vehicle is worth the investment. Particularly since damaged cars from floods usually don’t have any potential for resales. The bottom line Flood-damaged vehicles are utilized in every state across this nation. If you are concerned that your car may have been impacted by flooding or some other sort of water related event, there are steps you need to take including running a vehicle history report, looking for telltale indications of water damage, and having the vehicle inspected by a professional. Keep in mind that even if don’t live in an area affected by flooding, you may accidentally end up with a damaged or damaged vehicle. Find out more


Written by Contributing Writer Mia Taylor is a contributor to Bankrate and an award-winning journalist who has two decades of experience and worked as a staff reporter or contributor for some of the nation’s leading newspapers and websites including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the San Diego Union-Tribune, TheStreet, MSN and Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to manage their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down complicated subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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