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Thread: How To Know If A Car Has Flood Damage

  1. #1
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    gerryvz's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Annapolis, MD

    How To Know If A Car Has Flood Damage

    As we know, often flooded cars are re-sold later on with no outward or documentary evidence (salvage title, etc.) of being flooded.

    Here are a few quick tips you can use to determine whether a car has been a victim of a flood:

    1. Discoloration of seat belts. Extend the belt from its retractor and check to see whether there is white mold or mildew on the belt.
    2. Pull back the carpets (not just the floor mat) and check for accumulated sand/silt under the carpet.
    3. Rust underneath the car. Check for unusual rust under the car, particularly for cars sold in Western or Southern states where rust is not generally a problem. Ditto if a CARFAX or other documentation doesn't note that the car has ever lived in a rusty area.
    4. Rust on screws and metal hardware inside the center console area where water doesn't reach. Check things like corroded airbag connections and such.
    5. Missing rubber bung plugs in the trunk and underneath the vehicle. This can be a sign that they were removed to facilitate draining of the vehicle if it was flooded. If more than one or two plugs are missing, this should be considered a very suspect issue.
    6. Water stains or fading on the seats, door panels, and other "soft" areas inside the car and inside the trunk.
    7. Moldy/musty smell inside the vehicle or an intense/recent "disinfectant" smell from cleaning/de-molding, and/or used to mask bad smell due to water damage.

    Try checking the car's history using the VINCheck service:

    Check CARFAX's flood damage check:

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to gerryvz For This Useful Post:

    600Eric (06-09-2018), daantjie (06-09-2018)

  3. #2
    Zivil Ingenieur Maui's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Re: How To Know If A Car Has Flood Damage

    VINCheck link not working boss.

    1992 500E
    1994 E500
    2011 E550 4Matic

  4. #3
    E500E Guru
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Re: How To Know If A Car Has Flood Damage

    Yep, and if you see water stains on the gauges is a good sign that the car was mostly under water.

  5. #4
    Senior Member LWB250's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Tampa, FL

    Re: How To Know If A Car Has Flood Damage

    Another good place to look that's a bit more obscure and less likely to be cleaned up are the recesses on either side of the trunk. Pull the liner on each side and look at the back of it, as the front side won't always show the staining from water and it can be cleaned up as well. Flippers selling flood cars are rarely detailed enough to clean the back of the panels... and check the drain grommets in each area, too, as there is one in each as well as one in the spare tire well.


  6. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to LWB250 For This Useful Post:

    daantjie (06-09-2018), gsxr (06-09-2018)

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