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After East Coast rains, reminder tips for avoiding flood-damaged cars

September 30, 2011
In the wake of a recent deluge of rain along much of the East Coast, thousands of cars became submerged in areas impacted by flooding. Dealers should make sure they don’t unknowingly end up with one or more of those vehicles.
The National Automobile Dealers Association developed 10 inspection tips to help dealerships detect flood-damaged vehicles:
♦ Check the vehicle’s title history by VIN through commercially available vehicle history reports like Carfax or Experian Auto Check. The report may state whether a vehicle has sustained flood-damage.
♦ Examine the interior and the engine compartment for evidence of water and grit from suspected submersion in flood waters.
♦ Check for recently shampooed carpets.
♦ Look under the floorboard carpet for water residue or stain marks from evaporated water not related to air-conditioning pan leaks.
Inspect for rusting on the inside of the vehicle and under interior carpeting, and visually inspect all interior upholstery and door panels for any evidence of fading.
♦ Check under the dashboard for dried mud and residue and note any evidence of mold or a musty odor in the upholstery, carpet or trunk.
♦ Check for rust on screws in the console or other areas where water would not normally reach, unless the vehicle was submerged.
♦ Look for mud or grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.
♦ Complete a detailed inspection of the electrical wiring system, looking for rusted components, water residue or suspicious corrosion.
♦ Inspect the undercarriage of other components for evidence of rust and flaking metal that would not normally be associated with late-model vehicles.