Even a used car is an investment, and you don't want to buy a damaged car that will cost you tons of money in the long run. If after your own inspection you still aren't sure the car is completely dry, hire an expert.
A good mechanic will know where to look for signs of flood damage. That's especially true of places you may not know how to examine, such as the alternator, certain wiring mechanisms and pumps.
The mechanic should also take the wheels off and inspect the brakes and wheel components, which can carry tell-tale remnants of a flood history, such as silt and mud.
For more great information, check out the links below.
- Edmunds, Inc. "How To Avoid Buying a Flood-Damaged Car." April 30, 2009. (May 30, 2011) http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/how-to-avoid-buying-a-flood-damaged-car.html
- Fix, Lauren. "Hurricane sufferers victimized by illegal car sellingscam." Family Car Parts. (May 11, 2011) http://www.familycar.com/nextcar/flooddamagedcars.htm
- GarageFly. "Flood Damaged Cars: They Stink." (May 20, 2011) http://www.garagefly.com/article/read/id/17/
- Insurance Information Institute. "Flood-Damaged Cars from Hurricane Katrina May Show up on a Used Car Lot Near You." March 2, 2006. (May 11, 2011) http://www.iii.org/media/updates/archive/press.751580/index.html
- Jones, Roland. "'Storm cars' could take consumers for a ride." MSNBC. Sept. 16, 2005. (May 11, 2011) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9241839/ns/business-autos/t/storm-cars-could-take-consumers-ride/
- National Insurance Crime Bureau. "VINCheck." (May 30, 2011) https://www.nicb.org/theft_and_fraud_awareness/vincheck/vincheck
- Progressive. "Spotting Flood Damage." (May 12, 2011) http://www.progressive.com/vehicle-resources/car-flood-damage.aspx
- Samarin, Vlad. "How to inspect a car body when buying a used car - illustrated guide." Samarins. (May 22, 1011) http://www.samarins.com/check/bodycond.html#flood
- West Tennessee Legal Services. "Beware of Flood Damaged Vehicles." (May 18, 2011)http://www.wtls.org/images/Flooding/Beware%20of%20Flood%20Damage%20Vehicles.pdf
- What Car? "Flood damage: what you need to know - How do I tell if a car has been flooded?" Aug. 23, 2010. (May 30, 2011) http://www.whatcar.com/car-news/flood-damage-what-you-need-to-know/how-do-i-tell-if-a-car-has-been-flooded/226645
No one wants a car that's been badly damaged by a hurricane. HowStuffWorks and the guys from CarStuff explain how to avoid buying one accidentally.