October 31, 2017

How to Avoid Flood-Damaged Cars in Oklahoma

Along with the huge damages to property and lives across the region, the spring flooding in Oklahoma and Texas also lead to other problems. An article on Jalopnik pointed to one of the biggest – as many as 10,000 flood-damaged cars from Texas alone could be resold out of state to unsuspecting buyers.

If you’re shopping for a used car in the next few months, you owe it to yourself to know how to spot a flood-damaged vehicle. Fortunately there are several warning signs you can look for to avoid these damaged cars and trucks when shopping for a used car in Oklahoma City.

The Signs of Flood Damage in Used Cars

1. Strong Smells

One of the most obvious signs of flooding or water damage in a car is the strong, musty smell that it leaves behind. Odors of mold or mildew can persist long after other signs of damage are cleared away, making this one of the most reliable and simple ways to determine if a car might have been flooded. Also keep an eye out for cars being sold with strong air-fresheners inside them, as the seller might be trying to hide a less-agreeable scent.

2. Corrosion

Another big warning sign of flood damage in used cars is corrosion and rust in unusual places on the vehicle. Check areas such as the inside seals around the doors or the frame rails underneath the front seats for rust or water damage. Any rust present in these spots indicates significant contact with water, meaning it’s likely the car has other damage you can’t see too.

3. Fabric Stains or Swaps

Water stains can be very difficult to remove from car fabric, upholstery, and interior materials. If you notice discoloration or stains across the floor carpeting or on the seats, you may want to reconsider purchasing the car. In some cases, sellers might also get the car reupholstered to disguise water damage. If you notice the car has new-looking upholstery or carpeting but is otherwise standard, you should be very cautious.

4. Electrical Problems

Along with damage to the frame and interior, flooding also can wreak havoc on a car’s electrical systems. In some cases these problems can be easy to spot – brittle wiring under the hood or problems with the starter motor are clear giveaways – but often you’ll have to test systems individually to see if they’re working as they should. Check all the electrical systems you can think of when you’re looking the car over, including headlights and brake lights, turn signals, radio, heat and A/C, windows, door locks, and anything else that uses electrical power. If any of these systems don’t work as they should and the seller can’t give you a good reason why, you might want to look at a different vehicle.

5. Persistent Moisture

In some cases, water damage can leave behind persistent moisture that is very difficult to get rid of. One of the most common places this happens is inside the headlights and taillights, which often take on a “foggy” appearance after being exposed to flooding. The dashboard instrument panel is another common location for this fogginess, though a lower flood might not affect it. However, if you do see moisture in unusual locations around the car, that can be a good sign the car was in a flood.

6. Vehicle History Report

Another good resource for finding out if a car may have been damaged in a flood is a vehicle history report. Reports from companies like CARFAX include details about damage and repairs to a car over time, and they can also tell you if a car was sold or retitled in the past. If the report mentions anything about repairs for water damage or the car being retitled as a “Salvaged” vehicle, you should definitely be wary.

Trust a Reputable Dealer

Most of the time, flood-damaged vehicles are sold by dealers or private sellers trying to make a quick buck on a car that isn’t worth fixing properly. However, a reputable and established dealer won’t take the same shortcuts. For instance, when you buy a car at The KEY in Oklahoma City, we make sure it’s already been vetted by our mechanics and that it’s in good condition. That’s why we can offer 10 year Warranties on every car we sell: because we know that our vehicles are high-quality.

If you’re looking for a dependable used car in Oklahoma City, visit The KEY today. Even if you have bad or no credit, we can help you find a quality used car or truck at a great price. Visit our used car lot in Oklahoma City today, or browse our entire inventory online. You can also take a look at our Facebook or Twitter pages for more information and helpful tips.