Automobile flood damage warning signs

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hundreds, if not thousands, of cars were caught in flash flood waters last week. Many of those cars may find their way on to used car lots in coming months with salvage titles. Missouri, however, does not require that a salvage title state the nature of the damage. Some things to look for to determine if a car has been flooded:

* Mildew, debris and silt in places where it wouldn't normally be found, such as under the carpeting in the trunk or around the engine compartment.

* Rust on screws and other metal parts, especially under driver and passenger seats or interior trunk or hood hinges.

* Waterstains or faded upholstery; discoloration of seat belts and door panels.

* Dampness in the floor and carpeting; moisture on the inside of the instrument panel; water droplets caught in interior or exterior lamps.

* A moldy odor or smell of cleaning agents or deodorizers being used to cover up an odor problem.

* Flex some wires under the dash; wires that have been wet can become brittle upon drying.

Sources: Insurance Information Institute; www.intellichoice.com; DIY Network

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