In Intense Hurricane Season, Advises how to Spot Flood-Damaged Cars

In Intense Hurricane Season, Advises how to Spot Flood-Damaged Cars

In Intense Hurricane Season, Advises how to Spot Flood-Damaged Cars

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — September 7, 2011Used car shoppers — including those not on the East or Gulf coasts — should be on the lookout for flood-damaged vehicles that often hit the market during and after the hurricane season, says, the premier online resource for automotive information. The advisory comes just days after Hurricane Irene caused flooding in several U.S. cities and 10 inches of rain fell in Louisiana. Other storms threaten the U.S. as hurricane season continues.

"Once owners of damaged cars settle up with their insurance companies, vehicles are sometimes refurbished and resold, usually to an unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster," says Consumer Advice Associate Ron Montoya. "Electrical and mechanical problems can then surface long after the seller is gone, leaving the new owner with an unreliable car and no recourse against the seller."

The most effective way for a used car buyer to weed out a water-damaged vehicle is to obtain a vehicle history report from a company like Carfax and Experian's AutoCheck. The report will call out specific designations designed to alert future buyers about a car's integrity. A "salvage title" means that the car was declared a total loss by an insurance company, either because of a serious accident or any other problems. A "flood title" lets future buyers know that the car has damage from sitting in water deep enough to fill the engine compartment. also advises buyers to look for the following characteristics typical of a flood-damaged vehicle:

  • Musty or moldy odors inside the car
  • Discolored carpeting and upholstery
  • Fogging inside headlamps
  • Rust and flaking metal in the undercarriage
  • Dirt buildup in unusual areas

For more information on how to protect yourself against buying a flood-damaged car, please visit at

About, Inc. is a car-shopping Web site committed to helping people find the car that meets their every need. Almost 18 million visitors use our research, shopping and buying tools every month to make an easy and informed decision on their next new or used car. Whether you're at the dealership or on the go, we're always by your side with our five-star iPhone and iPad apps and our Android App. Our comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories offer a friendly and authentic approach to the automotive world. We're based in Santa Monica, Calif., but you can connect with us from anywhere by following @Edmunds on Twitter or by becoming a fan of on Facebook.

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