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Beware of Water Damaged Cars

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How to Notice Telltale Signs

Water, floods and rains in excess can always be damaging and devastating. If ever vehicles are caught in rains or floods or it has been marooned in waterlogged areas for whatever time period, that vehicle can never be given a clean chit. Because, even if it is recovered, salvaged, repaired and rectified, in the garage or the service centre, the water would definitely leave its trail of damage and the vehicle can never ever be brought to its earlier condition.


But still, water-damaged vehicles find their way to the used car market. People try disposing off these vehicles by selling it in the used car market and are not upfront and do not divulge details about the fact that the vehicle was water-damaged and later restored.

In such scenarios, the unsuspecting buyer who has only carried out the required verifications and inspections and has not gone beyond to carry out a detailed check or has not availed professional services like IBB’s Autoinspekt may definitely be taken for a ride.

If a car has been water-damaged, then it inadvertently damages the interiors, the equipment, and the mechanical and electronic systems. Not to miss the water seeps into the lubricants too. And gradually, corrosion and rust sets in and corrodes the metal and renders the vehicle typically useless.  The problems that surface means a lot more expense in having parts repaired and replaced and if critical problems surface, it can even affect the driving dynamics and can be dangerous even.  Now! How do we avoid this, how can we identify telltale signs that it is a water-damaged car. How do we spot a car that has been under water?

Signs that will indicate that you are being taken for a ride and buying a water-damaged car:

1. When buying a car from an individual, broker, or even the used car market, ask pertinent questions, if ever you see the person evasive, desperate to make a sale and willing to sell below market prices, then there are your warning bells. Do not commit or agree but insist on a more detailed check and inspection either by an experienced mechanic or even a service like Autoinspekt.

2. An interesting way to check out a water-damaged car is to just smell it. Because no matter what repairs and restoration work has been carried out, there will always be a smell of wetness and mould and at times you can even spot mildew. A closed car will always instantly reveal this. Therefore, the next time, take deep breaths when checking a used car. You never know.

3. Screws, metal, bolts, the car body, the insides and the exterior can show signs of corrosion, oxidization or even rust when they have been water-damaged. And when a car is corroded, it gradually eats away into the metal and parts and destroys the car. Therefore, you have to intensely check the car under the hood, the undercarriage and even door hinges because a sharp eye or a professional inspector can catch that rusty screw in time.

4. The car’s interiors are another great give away spot. If the upholstery looks damaged, water spots and stained or has lost its allure and colour, or if there is a musty smell, chances are it was under water.

5. If the carpets too wear the same signs or if it is brand-new and is not sitting in well, yes, the vehicle needs a thorough check. And the one other place to notice anything amiss is that the carpet, the upholstery on the seats, the doors and the roof should all appear similar and wear the same age and colour.

6. If the car’s electrical and mechanical systems have been exposed to water, then that is a major hazard because certain car functions will not work properly and pose problems. Therefore, it is a good idea to check under the dashboard and see if the electrical wiring looks fragile, also watch out for sounds when turning on the ignition, smoke and also check to see if the dashboard comes to life and all the music, speakers, electrical and mechanical systems and components kick in and are working fine or not. Check the AC and heater options and likewise the wipers too.

7. If ever you notice that screws under the seats and rubber drain plugs underneath seems to have been removed and replaced, or there has been some recent activity, then this is another water-damage sign.

8. If there is a major water-damage cover-up undertaken, there are still some areas in the car or parts that will still wear the signs of water seepage no matter what. Like the instrument cluster, lamps, mirrors, the headlights and taillights will be foggy and will have some water build up inside. The other areas to check out would be the door hinges, the boot space and around the wheels as water would leave its imprint.

9. Sometimes, when a car is caught in a flood or rain, there is a lot of outside dirt and waste that finds its way inside the car. And no matter what, some debris will collect in some way or the other.

10. Some spots that need double-checking would be the storage spaces in the car, the glove compartment, the space under the spare tyre, and below the seat. Never know you may notice water damage, rust, water accumulation, dirt and what not.

Be Cautious - Be Alert
When buying a car, whether a new car or used, is definitely a thought-out venture. Therefore, you should find the ideal vehicle that suits your requirements and budget. And in that, if you were to unknowingly buy a water-damaged vehicle, then you are done, your investment is down the drain.

So, in order to avoid being cheated or to avert problems, if you are not confident, or not sure what to watch out for engage an experienced mechanic or an auto inspector or avail the Autoinspekt services from Indian Blue Book and see the difference. You can be rest assured that any telltale sign will be noticed and the car is red flagged, and you are advised against making the buy and thus avoid a costly mistake.


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