Water Damage Detection Tips

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Don’t Get Soaked When Repairing or Buying a Flooded Car

OVERLAND PARK, KS, (August 30, 2011) – In the wake of Hurricane Irene, residents of the East Coast are left with high water, overflowing oceans and rivers and water-logged damage behind.


Among the most frequently damaged items are vehicles.  Even a little bit of water damage goes a long way in causing serious damage both inside and out.  But how do you know if your car has received significant water damage?  And how do you ensure you don’t get sunk by buying a water-damaged vehicle?


CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts, the nation’s largest family of auto body experts, sees a number of water-damaged vehicles at its repair centers and knows the warning signs of an excessive soaking.


“Flood waters don’t just get the vehicle wet, they totally soak the electronics, the mechanics of the car and the interior, leaving behind dirt deposits, rust, mildew and more,” said Dean Fisher, auto body expert, owner of CARSTAR Yorkville in Chicago and member of the CARSTAR National Advisory Board.  “Repairing a vehicle that has been through a flood is a challenge that should be left to a true auto body expert.  You really need to know what to look for if you are repairing a flood-damaged car or considering buying one.”

Auto industry experts caution consumers that the risk of buying a water-damaged car is not limited to the storm and flood-ravaged areas. Damaged cars are often repaired cosmetically and moved to adjacent states or other areas of the country where many are sold to unsuspecting consumers. These floodwaters can cause damage to a vehicle's computer and electrical systems, as well as potentially causing anti-lock braking and airbag systems to malfunction.

Fisher recommends that consumers look for the following damage when having a flood-damaged vehicle repaired or when buying a used car:

·         Examine upholstery and carpeting closely; if it doesn't match the interior or fits loosely, it may have been replaced. Discolored, faded or stained materials could indicate water damage.

·         Smell for musty odors – this could mean mildew.

·         Check the trunk, glove compartment, the dashboard and below the seats for signs of water damage such as silt, mud or rust.

·         Turn the ignition key and make sure that accessory and warning lights and gauges come on and work properly. Make sure the airbag and ABS lights come on.

·         Test lights (interior and exterior), windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work.

·         Flex some of the wires beneath the dashboard. Wet wires will become brittle upon drying and may crack

·         Look for rust in the wheel wells, under the hood and under the rear of the car.

·         Go to a trusted mechanic for an inspection. Always get vehicles checked BEFORE handing over any money.



“If your current vehicle displays signs of the above damage, it may be smarter to work with the insurance company to have it totaled than trying to repair it,” suggested Fisher.  “And if a vehicle you’re considering purchase has these tell-tale signs, walk away.  You’ll be saving yourself lots of headaches in the long run.”

CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts offers high-quality, reliable repair service in 30 states and 10 Canadian provinces.  Just call 1-800-CARSTAR when you need a vehicle repair and they will send the tow truck, contact your insurance company, arrange for a rental car and repair your car. For more information and store locations, visit www.CARSTAR.com.


CARSTAR Franchise Systems, Inc. 8400 W. 110th Street, Suite 200 Overland Park, KS 66210 1-800-999-1949 Copyright 2008 CARSTAR