How to Avoid Buying Flood-damaged Vehicles

In the wake of major storms, the used vehicle market is often inundated with flood-damaged cars and trucks, many of which are cleaned and transported to other parts of the country to be sold to unsuspecting consumers. Keep reading to learn more about the potential problems that accompany flood-damaged vehicles and how to avoid being tricked into buying one.

A flood-damaged vehicle may look like it’s in good condition from the outside, but moisture inside can have devastating effects that can lead to problems with:

  • Electronics, such as engine controls or brake signals
  • Dashboard rotting
  • Airbags and safety sensors
  • Interior upholstery and carpeting


To lessen your risk of buying a flood-damaged vehicle, take these guidelines into account:

  • Check the vehicle title history report.
  • Inspect the wiring system.
  • Inspect the interior and engine compartment for any evidence of water or moisture.
  • Be wary of a vehicle that was recently shampooed.
  • Look for water residue or stains from evaporated water under the floorboard carpet.
  • Look for rust inside the vehicle and under the carpeting. Inspect the upholstery for fading.
  • Look out for musty smells in the inside of the vehicle and in the trunk.
  • Check for rust on screws in the console area where water would not normally reach.
  • Have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic before finalizing your purchase.

Don’t Count on Lemon Laws to Protect You

Lemon laws are state and federal regulations that can offer a remedy to individuals who purchase a vehicle that ends up failing to meet various quality or performance standards—with the term “lemon” referring to a defective vehicle. 

However, don’t count on lemon laws to protect you from the risk of buying a flood-damaged vehicle. Unlike the purchase of a new vehicle, most states’ lemon laws do not apply to the purchase of used vehicles. In addition, many states do not require a grace period on used vehicle purchases. That’s why you must thoroughly inspect a used vehicle before finalizing your purchase. Contact us today for more vehicle-buying tips and auto insurance solutions.