Be Wary Of Cheap Cars In The Upcoming Months - 10 Telltale Signs It Has Been Through Water Damage

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Be Wary Of Cheap Cars In The Upcoming Months - 10 Telltale Signs It Has Been Through Water Damage

If you are thinking of buying a used car in the next few months, you should be extra cautious as it might have been damaged in a flood but how do you find out for sure? 


This happens every year, especially around parts of the country where floods have ravaged the land. Thousands of flooded cars are expected to be repaired and rebuilt, with some sellers trying to pass it off as if nothing has happened to them.

Flood Klang Valley 2021

While the signs of flood-damaged cars might be evident to seasoned car enthusiasts, they might not be so apparent to those with no experience. Of course, sellers will try their best to hide the effects of the floods by washing and repairing things that clearly show the effects. Still, other problems may arise after a while when owning a vehicle submerged in floods, especially electronic systems.

Flood Klang Valley 2021

So how do you tell whether the vehicle is a flood-damaged car? Well, these telltale signs should help out with the identification.

1. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is

One of the first indications that a car has something to hide is within its price. If it's priced very much lower than the average market value, then there is something wrong with it - probably recovered after being involved in flood damage. 

2. Yellow marks are a good giveaway

Usually, certain body parts will have yellow marks due to stagnant water. Check the headlights, engine compartment or rear boot for these yellow markings. If there is the slightest of markings, walk away from the car. 

3. Look underneath for rust signs 

Try to look for rust or flaking metal signs that should not be present on a relatively new vehicle. They should not be there, especially if the vehicle is under 5- 10 years old. However, if it also looks too clean and new, this could also signify that at some point the car was thoroughly cleaned, question is why?

4. Let your nose do the sensing

Beware of unpleasant odours - musty or sour odours can result from parts that have been wet for a long time and cannot be cleaned. Also, be careful with cars that smell strongly of deodorants, as they are placed to get rid of bad smells.

5. Look closely at the carpets

Notice the uneven colour of the carpet - If there is a different colour effect between the high and low parts of the vehicle carpet, it may indicate the history of stagnant water. However, some sellers change the entire interior carpet to hide it, so it should be lifted and checked thoroughly. 

6. Check the nooks and gaps for dirt

Look for traces of dirt in the most obscure of places - this includes parts such as seat adjustment rails, carpets behind or under the dashboard and engine parts as well. While sellers will try their best to get rid of them, there will be some places where they might have missed. 

7. Condensation is also a telltale sign

Fog or moisture in the interior lights, exterior lights or instrument panel could be an indication that the car has been repaired after flood damage. Check those lights underneath the footwell and at the lower parts of the doors as well.

8. Trust your instincts 

Of course, checking a car out with your trusted mechanic is the best way to avoid buying a lemon, but if they are not around, trust your instincts. If there is something amiss, just walk away and look at other cars. Don't rush into the inspection, just take your time, and if it doesn't feel right even at the smallest of things, then they are plenty of other cars to look at.

9. The engine will also giveaway that it has been through a flood

While most sellers will go through the effort of thoroughly overhauling the engine, some might not be so proactive. Check for a white, mayonnaise-like deposit underneath the oil filter cap and check the dipstick. If the fluid looks milky or looks weird in colour, it could have ingested floodwater.

10. Listen to the engine

If the engine is making weird noises, then it could have been damaged by a flood. Anyways, you should be walking away from a car that does this in the first place, unless you know your way around an engine.

We're not saying that every used car out there is a flood-damaged car, but you should be extra careful in the upcoming few months as a lot will most likely be. It's just best to walk away from a car, even if it has the slightest telltale signs, better safe than sorry.  



Adam Aubrey

Adam Aubrey

Content Producer

Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler


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