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Ways to know you're getting a damaged used car

While second-hand cars are great but if you unlucky enough to own a defected car, the consequences can be really expensive.

Car from another state?

Chances are flood-damaged cars will be transported away from flood zones to areas aren’t affected by the disaster. That’s pretty evil, right?

Months from now, when the weather is all calm and pleasant you’ll have forgotten all about the flood where the car has previously been registered.

Check the car’s history using VIN

You can do a complete background check on the car using its vehicle identification number (VIN). Not only you can find out if the car has been overhauled due to flood damage, you will know if the car has been in any major accident 

Hire a mechanic

If you are not confident with your own knowledge about cars, get a professional to help you out.

While you might think that the car is good enough for you, a mechanic could easily spot something wrong with the car.

Use your nose

Seriously, your ever sensitive nostrils will instantly pick up any foul odour. Then ask yourself if the car pass your sniff test.

A smell of must, mould or mildew will be quite apparent if the car has been dipped in flood water. Also, if you notice a heavy deodorant, most likely it is too good to be true.

Check the carpets

Brand-new carpets do look great especially for a used car but in this case, it can mislead you to think that the car is in great condition when it is not underneath.

The same goes for the upholstery. Peel back some layer of the fabric under the carpet and in the boot to look for sign of moisture or rust. Don’t forget to take a look at the spare tyre well.

Check seat mounts and bolts

Seats are often removed in the course of drying out a car. So, when life gives you sun-dried seats, you check the seat mounts and bolts to see if they’ve been wrenched.

If you have a portable mirror with you, look out for rusty springs under the seat.

Check under the hood

Does the crankcase oil look like the colour of chocolate milk? That can be a sign of water intrusion.

Any evidence of a water line on the firewall, the piece of panel separating the engine bay from the cabin.

Inspect headlights and taillights

Headlights and taillights are one of the most expensive car parts to replace. Make that to your advantage and check for evidence of a past water line inside.

Another sign of water intrusion is that the lights will be foggy.

Check screw heads and unpainted metal

Run your finger over hard-to-reach places like gaps and crevices under the hood, under the dashboard or along the backside of a body panel.

It is too much work to replace all of those screws when it’s hidden from sight. The goal is to find any dried up mud and signs of rust.

Take a test drive

Ultimately, like any other process of purchasing a car, you want to take it for a spin first. Check to see if all electronics work.  

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