Smarter Driver: How to spot a flooded car
Smarter Driver: How to spot a flooded car
3:07

Smarter Driver: How to spot a flooded car

Auto Tech
[MUSIC] Well, here near the OnCars headquarters in northern California we don't know what rain looks like anymore but many of you have been getting plenty of it and torrential floods. So the idea of being weary about a flooded car is still very relevent, except for us. [MUSIC] The problem with a flooded car is that you never really dry it out, at least not in terms of the effect of water getting into orifices and systems that were never suppose to see water. And that water's often salty and that raises hell with metal corrosion and damage to electronics and wiring. [SOUND] A reputable car dealer should not be selling a flooded car without clearly disclosing that. A private party center has Shall we say, more leeway to forget or claim they didn't know. So here are some tips and tricks you can use to find out if the car you're looking at ever took the big dip. [MUSIC] [SOUND] Now when you get into a car that you're considering buying and wondering about flood damage. Just give it a sniff. You can't mistake that mildew smell. And it's almost impossible to get out of a vehicle when it's been flooded. Now it's possible to get a little mildew odor because you had clogged drain tubes up in the sunroof or in the well of a convertible. But assume the worst and go hunting. [MUSIC] Second, look, and I don't mean just at the floor mat or under the floor mat. If you can try and get a peek under the carpet. That's the harder part to conceal when there was once flood damage. It can be tough. A lot of modern cars really seal these carpets down but give it a look. You might find some place to get under there. And third, feel. Feel around up above the glove box, inside that little welt. Down in the seat tracks and rails as well. what you're looking for is little traces of mud that might get on your hand. I mean how else would it get up there certainly at this height. Now there are two sites you can check to get a car's flood history. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is a federal database that includes flor information. Now ony about 35 states full report into it. The rest either don't or don't fully. That open loop holes for title washing. that's when a car passes through the DMV of a state that doesn't fully report the nature of a flooded car, flags like water damage, total loss, or salvage title then drop off a car's history. Also check the National Insurance Crime Bureau site, it's run by the insurance industry, they report in all cases where claims. Have been attached to a car that was flooded or some other way totalled. Both are free to check and both as you can see will have some holes in their data. It pays to double check the databases out there as well as your own senses. And your gut to make sure you're not plunking down good money for a car that got irrecoverably wet. [SOUND] More realities of modern driving, revealed now at CNETOnCars.com. Click on SMARTER DRIVER. [BLANK_AUDIO] [SOUND]

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