logo Jones Massey

  1. Home
  2. Categories
  3. Community
  4. Article Archives
  5. Buyer Beware - Flood damaged cars showing up at used car dealerships

WE sympathize with victims of the environmental wrath but not enough to be duped.



Discover the indications of flood damage to avoid purchasing one of the thousands of flood damaged cars on the road. - www.Carfax.com

"We were interested in an ‘08 Smart Fortwo Cabrio. The ad and the dealer’s website failed to mention there had been flood damage, so I am really glad that we decided to get a CARFAX Report. The report showed that it had been flooded, and that before the flood damage it had been totalled. Thanks CARFAX!” – Ryan H

Buying a flood damaged car can be a costly mistake. Unscrupulous sellers can make a car which has been totaled through flood damage look good as new with a fresh coat of paint and new upholstery.

For the average buyer, it can be difficult to tell whether a car is flood damaged at first glance. You can protect yourself against these cars by being aware of the tell-tale signs of water damage.

Every year, tens of thousands of cars are flood damaged, and more than half of those end up back on the road. Unsurprisingly, this problem is magnified in regions which are vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms.

But as scammers will often move cars between states to hide flood titles, anyone buying a used car needs to be aware of the signs of flood damage.

Considering purchasing a used car? Protect yourself from buying a flood damaged vehicle with tips from http://www.Carfax.com.


  • A musty odor in the interior, which can sometimes be covered with a strong air-freshener
  • Upholstery or carpeting which doesn’t match, is loose, new or stained
  • Damp carpets
  • Rust around doors, inside the hood and trunk latches, pedals or under the dashboard
  • Mud or silt in the glove compartment or under seats
  • Brittle wires under the dashboard
  • Fog or moisture beads in the interior or exterior lights or instrument panel

Important Checks

  • Turn on ignition and check all instrument panel lights illuminate
  • Test lights (interior and exterior), air conditioning, windshield wipers, radio, heater, turn signals and heater repeatedly
  • View the full CARFAX vehicle history report to check for reported flood damage or signs of salvage title fraud
  • Get the car checked thoroughly by a reliable mechanic
Flood Title Brand Delaware Florida Georgia
Iowa Kentucky Louisiana
Maine Minnesota New Hampshire
New Jersey North Carolina Ohio
Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
Tennessee Texas Utah
Virginia West Virginia Wisconsin
Salvage Title Brand* Arkansas Colorado Maryland
Mississippi Montana New Mexico
Salvage Certificate with Flood Brand Illinois Indiana Massachusetts

* These title documents will not necessarily be marked flood damaged.