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.