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How to Identify a Flood Damaged Vehicle

How to Identify a Flood Damaged Vehicle

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

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TESTIMONIALS

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We've been customers for over 20 years and LOVE IRC! We recommend IRC to everyone who asks. No better shop in town!
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I couldn't ask for better people nor a better mechanic repair place.They are Epic all the way around.I was 400 plus miles and they still found time to answer my questions and refer me to the right people.
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This is absolutely the best auto service in Sacramento. I have been going there for 40 years, and have never been disappointed. I have referred all my family and friends, and they are as happy as I am.
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I was referred to IRC when I had an issue with my exhaust. From the moment I walked in I felt like I was in very good hands. Everyone was welcoming and Jim was very friendly and helpful. He showed me the problem and not only fixed it but improved the design. The cost was extremely reasonable by far and the repair did not take long at all. I will definitely recommend this shop to all I know!
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My dear Laurie and Jim,
I was driving around, doing my errands and noticing that just as Jim had said, there was considerably less noise when I was stopped because you'd already done some repair work, when I realized you hadn't charged me anything for that work! I think I'm getting so used to you taking such wonderful care of me that it somehow didn't register, and I don't know if I even said thank you. THANK YOU
Please consider adding the cost of the work you did today to the charges when I come in next week. I so appreciate your many kindnesses, but I also do not want you generous people to short yourselves. Of course I keep an eye on expenses, and I certainly appreciate it when you give me a bargain, but I also have a regular paycheck coming in now, and I very much want our transactions to be win-wins. Totally aside from the pleasure of your friendship, it's wonderful to be an IRC customer and know that I will be charged a fair price (when you remember to charge me at all), by a business that stands behind their work. I eventually found mechanics with similar ethics in Connecticut, but before I did, I dealt with two car repair businesses that were somewhat less than trustworthy. I'm ignorant about cars, so it took me a while to discover they were charging me high prices for poor work. I never take IRC for granted. Mom and my sisters and I have always been grateful for Jim Sr. and his wonderful staff, and now you two take such good care of me! I feel very blessed to be an IRC customer. Then, on top of all that, there is the delightful bonus that we've become friends. I'm so glad you're both in my life; I feel happy every time I come in to see you.
With great appreciation,
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Great and thorough service every time I take my car in. I do and would recommend IRC's services to anyone!