WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nine months after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma flooded parts of Texas and Florida, hundreds of thousands of vehicles are now on the used car market. Some of them may have sustained damages from those hurricanes. Before the Memorial Day sales weekend hits, GEICO wanted to offer you these tips on how to spot a flood vehicle.
Not all flood-damaged vehicles are submerged to the engine and filled with water to the steering wheel; many may just have water on the floor and other isolated areas. The concern with a minimally flooded vehicle is the electrical components that are placed under the seats, in trunks, and other storage compartments. A flood-damaged vehicle may be difficult to spot especially after it has dried out; electrical problems may not show for months or longer but they all leave clues behind.
National Insurance Crime Bureau suggests the following things.
- Go to VINCheck to enter your vehicle identification number to check its reported history.
- The best way to avoid buying a flood-damaged car is to buy from a reputable dealer.
- If a car smells musty, that’s a likely sign it was exposed to water. A strong air freshener odor might mean the seller is trying to mask the smell of mildew. Check the carpet and upholstery. Take notice if it has been replaced.
- Inspect the vehicle for water stains, including the spare tire wheel well.
- Check for rust on screws in the console or areas where water normally doesn’t reach.
- Check for water lines, mud or grit in the spare tire compartment, alternator crevices, around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.
- Look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Pull back rubber boots around electrical and mechanical connections for these indicators