5 quick ways to spot a flooded car

5 quick ways to spot a flooded car

Updated on April 19 2024

It's the rainy season once again, and flash floods are an ever looming threat. Unfortunately, this also opens the window for unscrupulous resellers to sell off flooded vehicles and pass them off as good units. That means you have to be extra cautious these days when shopping around.

But as they say, everything leaves a trace. The same applies for flooded cars. Follow these five tips to spot one that's been dunked underwater and protect yourself from these scammers.

1. Use your sense of smell

Flood water has a distinct scent. It smells musty and moldy, amoy lupa in some cases. It's nearly impossible to get rid of that odor so the moment you get a whiff of that, it's time to raise some red flags. Even cans of air freshener can't conceal that, and it only makes it worse as it's suspicious to have a lot of those in a car.

2. Nooks and crannies

If by some miracle the smell of flood water is eliminated, you should take a look at areas where your eyes don't usually go. Check in between the buttons and the air-conditioning vents. Take a flashlight and peek under the dash and seats as well. Sometimes, you might even find a bit of mud between the seats, no matter how good the detailer is. You should also check the trunk for evidence of flood damage, as well as under the hood. Opening the air filter box is another way to look out for mud or other flood-related water marks.

3. Moisture

You also have to be on the lookout for moisture, particularly around the headlights, foglights, and tail lights. The seals surrounding them usually perish after getting dunked in the water and moisture seeps in no matter what. Unless it's been resealed, it becomes a recurring problem. And if there's an aquarium in any of these lights, it's time to walk away.

4. Recently peeled carpets?

It may seem trivial but you should be on guard the moment you see evidence of peeled carpets. For that, check out the corners of the door seals for any folds or crimps. If you find any, fold it back and check for any mud or grime underneath. If you spot any crust in there, there's a good chance that the car took a swim at some point in its life.


Last but not least, you must start the car and check the electrical systems. Turn on the radio, interior lights, and press all the buttons to see if these still work. While you're at it, turn on all exterior lights while you're at it. Switching on the air-conditioning helps, too, as it could emit musty odors as well.

So there you have it, a few checks to do before you even take the car out for a spin. If you find any of these while checking out a used car, it's best to look away and find another one. Remember, it's okay to walk away from it as it's better to purchase a better example than spend hundreds of thousands repairing it in the long run. While we're at it, it's also a good time to remind everyone to prepare your car for the rainy season and tread carefully when driving through floods.

But if you want peace of mind when it comes to buying an affordable set of wheels, why not visit the Automart.PH website and browse for your next car? Our trustworthy advisers are ready for your needs, and you can be assured that they will be honest and straightforward with you. We give it to you straight so you can go along your merry way and enjoy thousands of worry-free miles ahead.