Many times these card are sold through salvage auctions, taken to far off locations, and cleaned up for re-sale. It is not often the case that these cars that are being re-sold are identified as having been flooded before.
There are a lot of things you should know about water damaged vehicles. Any vehicle that has sustained water damaged is susceptible to mold growth in the vehicles interior, especially if the vehicle was allowed to sit untreated in warm temperatures and dry naturally.
If the doors to the car or truck have been left shut and its been let to try naturally, the musty odor inside will be very prevalent and you will not have to have any kind of training to detect it.
Some dishonest car dealers (or private owners trying to get rid of the car) will try to mask the smell of the water damage with all manner of air fresheners and if you smell anything pleasant while looking inside a car that obviously is not brand new, you should probably walk away because they are hiding something.
Look for any kind of rust in the interior of the car and the trunk, especially near the taillights and check the carpeting for signs of damage.
Carpet that has soaked up water and has not been properly treated will most likely stink, especially if it has been submerged in the sewer water
that's often brought to the surface by flooding.
You might think that if the water dries out, the engine of the vehicle will be just fine, but this probably is not the case if it has not been restored by a professional. Sewage, sand, and other debris could have seeped into it and cause
misfires and blown gaskets.
Water damaged vehicles can also suffer electrical problems, especially in newer models where most things are monitored electrically like timing on headlights, the radio, when the oil needs to be changed, and all the way down to how many miles are on the car.
Unless the carpet and its padding were removed and the interior cleaned by a professional and the car was submerged in sewer water, high levels of bacteria and mold are very possible, too.
Paying for a vehicle history from Carfax.com could be beneficial if you get the cars VIN, but please be aware that the car will only show up as having been flood damaged if an insurance agent has looked at the car and it was recorded.
If the vehicle history report does not show it was flooded, but it appears to be water damaged, back away. You are likely to find a better deal somewhere else.