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How to identify a pre-owned car damaged by flood water
The monsoon season in India is on its way out. If you are planning to buy a pre-owned car, perhaps it is a good time to understand how to spot a car damaged by flood water. A physical inspection of the car is almost a must, especially the pre-owned ones. First and foremost, focus on the obvious indications of potential damage by flood water like condition of seat upholstery and a musty smell. Also check the upholstery for stains and tough marks. Are there any spots that look like hard to clean? Are there stain marks on the carpet? These are easy giveaways, especially if the car has been damaged by ingress of water.
Try lifting the carpet or floor mats and check for mud and water stains. Look for signs of any other damage as well. But that is not all. A thorough check is what will reveal the real picture. So open the hood and check the engine bay as closely as possible. Keep your eyes peeled for rust, especially any signs of rust before time. Depending on the age of the car and the kilometres driven, you can make a rough assessment of the degree of rusting possible.
You also need to test all the electrical equipment to make sure it is operating properly. Often electrical equipment is most vulnerable to sustained water exposure. In case you are not buying the car from an organised player with a well-defined inspection process, you also need to undertake a background check. Make sure that the car does not belong to an area that was flooded recently. The condition of the air-conditioning and the display system are other key parts that can easily reveal instances of prolonged water exposure.
Interestingly, most organised players are also using AI-enabled vehicle inspection platforms to get an edge over competition and enhance the transparency in this segment. Last but not the least, do take the car for a spin before finalising the deal. Often it is the test drive that reveals lingering issues that don’t show up otherwise.