Feb 272016

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Open the doors – tide marks staining upholstery in a vehicle are possible warning signs.
  3. Sitting comfortably – rust on all seat-retaining bolts and seat frames could indicate that a vehicle has been in prolonged contact with water
  4. Lift the bonnet – silt and mud deposits on the engine and associated components is a possible danger sign
  5. Get on your knees – pay attention to any recent surface corrosion and body damage on lower sills and floorpan, including axles and component brackets
  6. Exhausting checks – look at the full exhaust system, sometimes the rear box is changed to disguise flood damage
  7. Time to dash – a combination of intermittent electrical problems, dash warning lights and inoperative electrical components could spell major repair bills for flooded vehicles
  8. In recession – take a good look at internal recesses, including cup holders, ashtrays, cubby holes and door pockets for signs of silt and mud
  9. Fits like a glove – check the glovebox manuals, paperwork and information packs – they may show signs of water damage
  10. 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.

  3 Responses to “Beware: flood damaged cars for sale”

  1. Have been caught out by this. Bought a Ford Focus estate in what seemed good condition . Bought early in the year but as time went on and the weather warmed up the rust started to appear. Electrics started to fail, I lifted the rear seats too make the boot bigger to find enough sand to partly fill a child’s sand pit.
    Car was later scrapped to costly to repair.

  2. Beware of buying off auction sites such as ebay where it may not be possible to inspect a car before purchase. Before bidding,ask the seller if the car has been subjected to flood water ingress or damage.

  3. very god info. re. water damaged cars, this will catch many out. well done warranty direct. vic.

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