BBB has the following tips for car shoppers to determine if a used car is flood-damaged:
Check the condition of the fabrics. Look for discolored, faded or mildewed upholstery, and carpeting. Recently shampooed carpets may be cause for concern. Carpeting that has been replaced may fit too loosely or may not match the interior color.
Do a smell test. A heavy aroma of cleaners and disinfectants is a sign there may be a mold or odor problem
Remember to check under the hood. Look for standing water, mud or grit in the spare tire wheel well or around the engine compartment under the hood.
You need to be aware of dishonest businesses and individuals, who may try to sell flood-damaged cars as standard second hand cars, without revealing the vehicles’ history.
Ask to see the title. Check the date and place of transfer verifying where the car came from. If the title is stamped “salvage” or arrived from a recently flood damaged state, ask questions. Consider purchasing a vehicle history report of the vehicle, which includes information if the car has ever been tagged as “salvage” or “flood damaged” in any state.
Get a CarFax. To see the history of the vehicle and any major repairs that were done.
Get an inspection. Before buying any used car, consider having a pre-purchase inspection done by a trusted mechanic.
Research the dealer. Always check out the BBB Business Profile of the dealer at BBB.org. Get a warranty in writing that tells you exactly what is covered.
Never sign an ‘As-Is’ contract.