There are many different types of car water damage, and if you are considering buying a vehicle that has been exposed to large amounts of water or you suspect that a car has been water damaged even though it does not show up on a CarFax report, then there are a few tips you should keep in mind.
1. Signs of damage – If a car was flooded or submerged in water there will be extensive damage, and if you know what to look for there should be evidence of the water. Check under the car, above the gas tank for silt, and debris, which if present would indicate the car has been flooded. Rust in the trunk or glove compartment would also be a sign of water damage. If the car smells musty or moldy, or it looks like the original upholstery has been replaced, it more than likely has been water damaged. Finally, check all of the electronic components of the car and make sure they work, as extensive water exposure would short them out.
2. Water Type – If you know that the car has been water damaged, it pays to know what type of water it was in. This can make a big difference. If the car was completely submerged in salt water, it is almost certainly going to be written off by the insurance company and should probably be avoided unless it has been almost completely rebuilt. Salt water is very corrosive and will eventually weaken and destroy not only the frame and body but also the electronics of the vehicle. If your car or a car you are considering purchasing has been flooded in fresh water, it is possible to rebuild it. Though it will not be cheap. In some cases, the car will have to be rebuilt from the ground up, but it can be done. If you are buying a water damaged car and know and trust the person who rebuilt it then it is possible to get a pretty good deal on these types of cars.
3. Professional Opinion – If you suspect the car you are thinking about buying is water damaged it is a good idea to have it checked by a professional mechanic. They can access the damage and give you a realistic idea of what it will cost to fix it, and if it is worth fixing. Normally a CarFax report will alert you to flood or water damage but if the owner of the car did not report it or file an insurance claim the only way to know for sure is to have it checked out.
4. Buying a Water Damaged Car – If you have decided to purchase a water damaged car here are a few things to consider. Be sure to have a look at the original damage report. It will give you an idea of the scope of damage. Also ask to see the parts list and method of rebuilding. Finally be sure to check out the reputation of the re-builder. If there have been any BBB (Better Business Bureau) complaints, would be a good place to start.
Buying a water damaged car is almost always a risky proposition but keeping these facts in mind and doing your research can help you navigate your way to a good deal.