There will be more flood damaged vehicles on the used car market as a result of the treacherous weather conditions recently seen in the UK. So private buyers need to be on their guard and to know exactly what to look out for.
If a vehicle has been driven into a serious flood or submerged for a period of time, water can overcome the intake manifold, causing the engine to hydraulic lock and this may require total replacement. So, if a replacement engine or new steel wheels have been fitted are signs they have been flooded.
Other tell-tale signs of a potentially flood-damaged vehicle are random or strangely placed scrapes and dents to the bodywork, which may have resulted from debris carried by fast running water.
To help spot potentially flood-damaged vehicles, Manheim Auctions has developed a ten point inspection plan:
- Lift the flooring – rust, mould, dampness and/or silt under all carpets and mats are a sign that a vehicle may have taken an early bath.
- Open the doors – tide marks staining upholstery in a vehicle are possible warning signs.
- Sitting comfortably – rust on all seat-retaining bolts and seat frames could indicate that a vehicle has been in prolonged contact with water
- Lift the bonnet – silt and mud deposits on the engine and associated components is a possible danger sign
- Get on your knees – pay attention to any recent surface corrosion and body damage on lower sills and floorpan, including axles and component brackets
- Exhausting checks – look at the full exhaust system, sometimes the rear box is changed to disguise flood damage
- Time to dash – a combination of intermittent electrical problems, dash warning lights and inoperative electrical components could spell major repair bills for flooded vehicles
- In recession – take a good look at internal recesses, including cup holders, ashtrays, cubby holes and door pockets for signs of silt and mud
- Fits like a glove – check the glovebox manuals, paperwork and information packs – they may show signs of water damage
- Sense of smell – while some cars smell damp if they have been deep cleaned, be aware of the ‘atmosphere’ in the car as it could alert you to a flood-damaged vehicle.