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How to Identify a Flood Damaged Vehicle

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How to Identify a Flood Damaged Vehicle

It is important for those considering the purchase of a used vehicle to be car care aware and check for signs of water intrusion or contamination, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

"Purchasing a used vehicle and later learning it has been flood damaged can be very problematic and lead to costly issues down the road. Worst yet, these vehicles can be unhealthy to occupy because of mold and bacteria growing in the carpet and ventilation system," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council and the Car Care Professionals Network (CCPN), a network of professional automotive service providers, say it all comes down to how much water the vehicle took in and where it can be reached and together recommend taking the following steps to determine if a vehicle has been flood damaged:

  • Take the sniff test. Close all the windows and doors and let the car sit for about five minutes then crack open a door and sniff. Mildew and mold have very distinctive smells and it doesn't take long for that smell to present itself.
  • Try the touch test. Get some paper towels and press them against the low spots in the carpet. The paper towels will draw the moisture out and reveal if the carpet is wet under the surface. Some carpets can be several inches thick to insulate from heat and sound. If the paper towel becomes wet it could mean water has gotten into the car.
  • Investigate the interior. Look under the seats and dash for corrosion and rust and look for exposed metal that is untreated. There are metal springs under the front seats that are usually not painted. If they are rusted that is a sign the interior has been wet. Look for mud and debris in places it does not belong.
  • Inspect the instrument panel. Turn on the key and perform a bulb test. Make sure every bulb lights up. If a system has an issue, removing the warning bulb can hide it. Many times vehicles that have flooded have malfunctions in their anti-brake and air bag systems. Ensuring the light comes on and then goes out after the bulb test is an indicator that the system is on and has no active faults.
  • Take it to a professional. Let a service and repair technician inspect your vehicle. They can raise the car and look underneath to see if there is any mud, sticks or rocks in the suspension. A professional can check the oil in the differentials to make sure they contain no water in them. Spend a few dollars to have it looked over to give you peace of mind.

Source: Car Car Council

What People Say About Us

  • , 12/21/2020

    Thank you Jose for your patience and work you did on my trans. It is working better than ever before. GREAT JOB!

  • , 12/02/2020

    I live in the upper midwest and my daughter is a traveling nurse in Clearwater. She called today because she had a leaking tire and the dealer told her that her wheel was cracked and would only sell her a new wheel. The wheel was on back order and it would be at least a week to obtain one. She has an hour commute each way to work. The space saver spare was not going to be an option! A local salvage yard near me located a wheel at Budget Auto via a salvage yard search by zip code and gave me Budget Auto's number. I contacted Nino at Budget Auto and he was extremely helpful and arranged for shipping to my daughter's door. Crisis solved. Thank you Budget Auto!!

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    I DO NOT have enough good words to say about James and his staff at Budget. He has been going way out of his way to take care of me and my situation. LONG STORY - I went for an oil change at Walmart on my 2014 Subaru Forester and they drained out my transmission fluid and filled up my oil, without draining it. We went back to Walmart after leaving and having issues, and the manager told us there was "nothing wrong" with the OVER FILLED oil dip stick. We then decided to go to Budget. My husband did NOT make it there and they left right away to tow us to their shop. Upon their inspection they found the oil WAY over filled and hardly any transmission fluid. They had to flush all the fluids and refill everything. Needless to say we had to pay that bill and now am dealing with a claim with Walmart. I have talked to James and he is trying to contact the "CLAIM" dept. that I am TRYING to deal with. For SOME reason they don't seem to answer when I call. Being new to the area sure put us at ease about finding this good service garage. Wish we went there first !!! ***** FIVE STARS*****

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    Jim and jose and brad in the banana are so delightful. They all make doing business w/them fun and delightful regardless of whether or not i have candy with me for them

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    Very honest business! Took great care of my 2013 mustang (needed tranny) very fast service! Highly recommend anyone to this place! They have almost everything and if they don't, they can get it!

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    Highly recommend these guys, they are wonderful. Professional, knowledgable and always very helpful!

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