Hurricane Harvey swept into the Houston area in late August 2017, bringing with it day after day of pounding rain. Whole neighborhoods were flooded with several feet of water. An estimated half a million cars were damaged in Hurricane Harvey’s wake. And now, months later, some cars with flood damage are making their way back onto the streets.
It’s big business: people buy cars with flood damage. They clean them out, fix them up as best as they can, then sell them to buyers across the nation. It could be any make or model, and that includes Honda!
There are problems with it, however. Cars with flood damage are often sold to unsuspecting people who may not even realize that the vehicle they’re purchasing was ever a total loss. To prevent being one of those buyers, here are five things to watch for when buying a used car.
How to Find Flood Damage
It’s not just the normal water stains from your shoes. If the carpets have water stains high up into the footwells, like there was water sitting in the car for awhile, it’s a sign that it may be flood damage. Look for similar water stains on the seats or door panels.
Corrosion Under the Hood
Pop the hood and take a look. If you find rust on the tops of the strut towers, it’s a sign water has been sitting there. The same goes for the valley on the top of the engine. Some light rust is normal but any heavy buildup indicates the presence of significant water.
Rust on the Door Seams
Peek at the bottoms of the doors. Where the outside seam pinches over, there might be some slight rust starting – that’s normal. If it’s fuzzy with corrosion, the paint is peeling, or there’s heavy rust, the car might have seen flood water.
Dash Warning Lights On
Sometimes, dash warning lights are on for other reasons. But if you see unusual warning lights such as airbag or ABS lights on all the time, you might want to give your used car purchase a second thought.
Water and electricity don’t mix. Corrosion builds up in connectors, shorts computer modules, and causes motors to fail. If there are electrical ‘gremlins’ that seem outside the norm, make sure you confirm the car wasn’t involved in flood damage. Better yet, look for a different car.
At Jay Wolfe Honda, all our used cars are carefully selected. We don’t sell cars with flood damage. All our used vehicles are inspected to verify there are no issues, water-related or not, so you can confidently choose your next vehicle from our inventory.