Be Wary of Flood-Damaged Vehicles Entering the Market

In the wake of severe weather across the Southeastern U.S. and even flash flooding in the DC region, it is important that dealers remain vigilant against cars that may have been damaged in severe weather.   Especially in this environment where used vehicles are more valuable than ever, hurricane season provides an opportunity for dishonest actors to pass off previously flood-damaged vehicles as clean. And cars with pre-existing water damage are often not easy to identify.  Those people in your dealership who are authorized to purchase vehicles should remember to be on the lookout for the following telltale signs of water damage:


  • Water stains, mildew, or sand and silt under the carpets, headliner, and behind the dashboard;
  • Signs of oxidation on wires or under the hood;
  • A musty interior odor that has been covered up by air freshener;
  • Dampness in the seats and carpets;
  • New items in the car that don’t match the original design;


You can also look up the title history on to look for any indication the vehicle was damaged or came from an area that recently flooded.

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