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919-834-7300 | 5312 Atlantic Springs Rd Raleigh, NC 27616

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


What Our Customers Are Saying

reviewiconProfessional Advice

I usually look at the reviews for places that I've never used before. I found the service and the personnel here exactly as stated on the yelp reviews. Woody was right on target when he provided an on phone analysis of what my radiator problem was. He also provided a range of what the cost might be. I was especially impressed with the time in which it took for them to do it. My vehicle was in their shop by ten am and completed by 4:30 pm.

, 06/12/2017

reviewiconGreat Customer Service

Fantastic business. I will bring my car here for as long as I'm in this area. They are very straightforward, could have raked me over the coals and absolutely did the opposite. My car was leaking coolant and I couldn't find the leak. Brought it here, two days later get a call saying all they can find was a small leak from a clamp on the hose. They tightened it and got me back on the road that very day they called. I will recommend this place to everyone. Thanks guys!!!

, 02/27/2018

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I have found my mechanic. Saw that these guys had nothing but good reviews, so I called to ask if I could drop my car off after hours because I work 9-6 every day. I dropped my car off on Monday night, and on Tuesday by 10 am a mechanic had called me to ask for some more info on what was wrong with my car. Woody called back about mid-afternoon to let me know that while they believe it's the compressor, they did not feel comfortable performing such an expensive repair when they weren't 100% sure and when my car was still running mostly fine and blowing cold air. Most other places around here would've happily taken my hundreds of dollars! I appreciated the honesty so much, as that's very rare these days... especially in the auto repair industry. He took my payment for the diagnostic over the phone and said that once my compressor fails, I can use the amount I paid as a credit towards my repair. These guys are super honest and the whole process was so easy and seamless. While it kind of sucks that my car isn't fixed, it still works and I'm not out hundreds of dollars! Super appreciative and I will certainly be here for future repairs and maintenance.

, 07/20/2019

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I got a 1980 Fiat Spider 124 with radiator trouble. I call and spoke to Woody and ask me to get it there and next day was done. Kudos to Woody. Thank you !!!

, 05/28/2020

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, 05/08/2018
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