When the floodwaters subside, they often leave behind damaged cars. After the owners of damaged cars settle up with their insurance companies, vehicles are sometimes refurbished and resold. And sometimes, a middleman buyer intentionally hides a car’s history as a flood-damaged vehicle through a process known as “title washing” and sells it to an unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster. Electrical and mechanical problems can potentially surface later — long after the seller is gone — leaving the new owner with an unreliable car and no recourse against the seller.

How to Spot a Flood-Damaged Car

  1. Be alert to unusual odors.
  2. Look for discolored carpeting.
  3. Examine the exterior for water buildup.
  4. Inspect the undercarriage.
  5. Be suspicious of dirt buildup in unusual areas.