Title Brands: Water Damage

Hurricanes, thunderstorms and flash flooding are responsible for water damage on many vehicles each year in the United States. Don't think that because you live miles from a hurricane or flood zone that you won't encounter a water-damaged vehicle. It is common for vehicles to be moved thousands of miles before they are put up for sale. How can you be sure the vehicle you're about to purchase has not been involved in a natural disaster and sustained significant water damage?

Remember that it's always a good idea to have the vehicle examined by a certified mechanic before you purchase it. A trained mechanic will know what to look for when it comes to water damage.

You should also purchase an AutoCheck vehicle history report to make sure the title has not been branded with water damage at some point in its past. If the vehicle's title has been reported as branded with water damage, it will be on your report.

With that said, there are still a few things you can check for that may indicate whether the vehicle has sustained significant water damage:

  • Does the vehicle have rust in spots that should have minimal contact with water (such as the dashboard or glove compartment)?
  • Does the vehicle have a moldy or musty smell?
  • Are the electrical parts (such as the air conditioner, windshield wipers, etc.) in good working order?
  • Check the floorboard carpet for water residue or stain marks from evaporated water.
  • Check for rust on screws in the console or other areas where the water would normally not reach unless submerged.
  • Check for mud or grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.
  • Check the electrical wiring system, looking for rusted components, water residue or suspicious corrosion.
  • Inspect the undercarriage of other components for evidence of rust and flaking metal that would not normally be associated with late-model vehicles.

By taking a few simple precautions, you can avoid a vehicle that has been damaged by water.

See a sample of a water-damaged vehicle history report!

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