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828-252-1192 | 97 Thompson Street Asheville, NC 28803

How to Identify a Flood Damaged Vehicle

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 Our Customers Are Saying

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I was blown away with the service I got here. I have never reviewed a company before but I had to get on here and rave about Biltmore Body & Paint Shop. They bent over backwards to help me out. I was in a really bad situation with my car and they could have easily charged me way more then what they did. They helped me out big time and I will forever be grateful.

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Got the run around from 2 different body shops in Asheville. Called Biltmore body and explained what was going on. They told me they could get it in the following day so I dropped off my wife's car the day before Christmas Eve and picked it up on New Year's Day. Fitment looks top notch, no trash in the paint, no cracks or swirls, and no orange peel. Will definitely be visiting them again if there's another accident.

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Cannot say enough good things about my experience. Our 2004 Volvo was t-boned in a parking deck and 2 other body shops quoted the repairs over the threshold for totaling it. The car is in pristine, excellent condition and I told everyone we wanted to keep it. Biltmore P&B understood and did more than just shoot out a quick, over-inflated estimate. They actually called regional junkyards, found a replacement door, and made only the changes necessary?the others estimated costly new (factory!) bumpers and side lights that weren't absolutely necessary. Biltmore is a small, friendly business?not a "franchised estimate factory" like other body shops in town. I recommend them highly!

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