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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

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  • , 04/05/2021

    I brought my 2011 Honda Accord into the shop for an electrical analysis to validate I had a couple of failed actuators in the rear doors. I spoke with Harry who got out from behind the desk and came with me to the car to "take a look." Harry gave me a detailed plan of how they would determine what was wrong and I agreed to them delving into the problem. Harry asked when completing the service order, "How did you find out about our business?" I explained that I had performed a Google search and what separated Viking Auto Repair Electric and Air from the rest was Harry personally responded to each comment put on Google. With this level of customer interface, I thought I could not go wrong. This is a type of customer service rarely found. The repair was made (it was actually failed actuators on both rear doors) and the car is back 100% operational now. Car service businesses are everyone when you Google them, ones that provide this level of customer service are hard to find. Highly recommend if you have a car electrical issue. I did not have any air conditioning work done, however, I would presume the same level of expertise is there for A/C issues. Look no farther, this is your solution to electrical problems!

  • , 02/19/2021

    Thank you guys for your service. Great job and fast!

Jacksonville
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    , 02/18/2021

    Excellent and timely service! I recommended them to my family and my car and my mother's are running better than ever!

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    , 11/03/2020

    Great pricing and service, highly recommend.

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    Electronic Services
    , 10/22/2020

    I had problems with the navigation system on my car. Although Viking was not able to ultimately resolve my issue, they spent a great deal of time exploring reasons for the problem and running various tests. In the end, they referred me to the dealer to resolve the problem. Harry, at Viking was very friendly and helpful.

  • reviewiconVery Friendly & Helpful
    Electronic Services
    , 01/02/2020

    My son is a student in Jacksonville. He needed an alternator for his car. While he was in class the staff at Viking worked with me over the phone to ensure that his car was ready to go as soon as possible. I felt assured that I was being given the best service at a very reasonable price. If the need arises again I will make sure to go to Viking for service.

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