It’s springtime and with warming temperatures, melting snow and ice and rain, there is an increased risk for floods. Residents of North Dakota among other areas around the country are currently dealing with water issues and as a result, a number of vehicles will be affected. That means many car buyers may unknowingly buy a vehicle that has hidden water-related problems.
Water damage can be hard to detect, but there are some tell-tale signs you should be aware of:
Inspect the carpets to see if they are wet, damp, or muddy.
Check the seat-mounting screws to see if there is any evidence that they have been removed. To dry the carpets, the seats must be removed, not generally a part of normal maintenance.
Inspect the lights. Headlights and taillights are expensive to replace, and a visible water line may still show on the lens or reflector.
Inspect the difficult-to-clean places, such as gaps between panels in the trunk and under the hood. Waterborne mud and debris may still appear in these places.
Look for mud or debris on the bottom edges of brackets or panels, where it wouldn’t settle naturally.
Look at the heads of any unpainted exposed screws under the dashboard. Unpainted metal in flood cars will show signs of rust.
Check if the rubber drain plugs under the car and on the bottom of doors look as if they have been removed recently. It may have been done to drain floodwater.
If you need to dig deeper, remove a door panel to see whether there is a water mark on the inside.
If you are from an area impacted by a flood and have a car that was not damaged, be aware that buyers may still suspect that it was. Consider having a mechanic inspect the car before you sell it so that you can present potential buyers with a clean bill of health.