Home Blog Maintenance Buyers be Aware – Florida Cars Might be in Rough Shape

October 7, 2022 by Anne Kelley

Buyers be Aware – Florida Cars Might be in Rough Shape

Even the sturdiest vehicles are no match for flood damage, like that seen in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which has decimated 200,000 cars and counting in Florida. Natural disasters also create a surge in demand which makes it easier for unscrupulous sellers to pass off damaged and unsalvageable cars to vulnerable folks who have already taken a major hit. Learning the signs that you might be dealing with a flood damaged Kia and purchasing from a reputable dealer are the easiest ways to protect yourself from getting burned while shopping for a pre-owned car in the aftermath of a storm.

Floods & Cars

Inspect the Exterior

Inspect cars with a skeptical eye when viewing a used vehicle. Most sellers looking to pass off flood-damaged vehicles give their cars at least a cursory wash. Still, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for visible water lines on the car, especially in spots that aren’t as easily washed, like inside the headlight casings. Scan the car’s exterior for any newly peeling paint, water spots, missing clear coat or rust. Take a peek under the car, as well: newer Kia models should have little to no rust on the underside. Pay special attention to brake rotors, which show rust more quickly and easily than many other parts of the car.

Look Under the Hood

Lift the hood and look for signs of dirt, mud and debris packed into the cracks and crevices. Cars that have survived hurricanes or been in floods may even have mud hidden in the hinges of the hood or in the compartment that holds the hood prop.

Take a close look at the engine itself. Some amount of dirt is normal, especially if the vehicle has been used for off-roading (as many Kia Telluride enthusiasts enjoy!) , but when dealing with a flood damaged car, you’ll notice mud stuck in unlikely recesses – near the alternator or starter, in the connections for the power steering, or even jammed into wiring harnesses.

While evaluating the wiring harnesses, take the time to look for obvious corrosion, wear and tear to the car’s electrical components. Flood damaged vehicles tend to look far worse for wear than the age of the vehicle would suggest.

Use All Five Senses Inside the Car

Use all of your senses when viewing a used car that has potential flood damage:

  • Smell: When you’re sitting inside of the vehicle, does it smell moldy, damp or even earthy? Conversely, does it smell strongly of shampoo and artificial fragrance that might be covering up something rancid?
  • Touch: Does the upholstery feel spongy or even damp? Do you feel any dirt, grime or debris still caked into the carpeting? If the vehicle has a leather interior, are there any cracks, peeling, or signs of disintegration?
  • Sight: Are there water stains, fading or rust, especially inside the trunk or under the floor mats? What about in the center console or on the instrument panel? Do all of the electrical components appear to work as they should?
  • Hearing: Buzzing, clicking or static when engaging the electrical components of the vehicle could be signs of a flood damaged car. The radio should sound crisp and clear, the heating and air conditioning should work without issue, and the wipers and lights shouldn’t have any problems.
  • Taste: While any of these warning signs may just be a matter of course when purchasing an unverified, older, used vehicle, a combination of two or more should leave a bad taste in your mouth – lemon, perhaps? (Note: This is somewhat tongue-in-cheek – please don’t actually taste any part of a used car when deciding whether to purchase it.)

Protect Yourself Against Purchasing a Flood Damaged Car

Flood damage can be hard to spot, even if you know what to look for. If you must buy from a private party, consider having a trusted mechanic come along to assist in the inspection of the vehicle. Or, add an extra peace of mind by buying through a known, trusted, and respected pre-owned car dealer. Lawrence Kia is the dealer of choice for used and pre-owned vehicles that are safe, legal, and without hidden surprises.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Kansas City or Tampa, Florida – Lawrence Kia has you covered when it comes to your next vehicle. Schedule a virtual appointment to discuss your options, browse our inventory from the comfort of your own home and even take a virtual test drive to really see if you’ve found the car of your dreams – we’ll work around your schedule.

We offer easy remote financing for our customers: simply pick the car you want, get approved, and set up your free delivery. Looking to get out of town for a while during storm cleanup, or just need a vacation away from it all? We get it! Instead of free delivery, we can also fly you out to pick up your car – at no charge to you!

Still not sold? We’re so confident in the quality of our used vehicles that we extend our True Complimentary Lifetime Warranty to every Kia we sell, not just the brand new models. We make it so easy, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.



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