How to Tell if Your Vehicle has Flood Damage

flood damage

AAA Carolinas is providing tips for spotting vehicle flooding in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Carolinians who have returned to their property after evacuating for the storm and those in the market for a new, need to beware of flooded vehicles.


“While there are still plenty of flooded areas, thankfully the water has receded in many regions across the Carolinas,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas Spokesperson. “However, dry land can be deceiving to those who have returned to their homes and believe their cars were not affected by the heavy rainfall.


The following tips can be used to detect potential flood damage to vehicles:

  • Smell inside the vehicle to detect any damp or musty odors.
  • Pull back the carpet at different areas and look for mud, dirt or signs of water stains.
  • Inspect the dashboard underside for signs of mud and dirt.
  • Look under the vehicle for corrosion.
  • Open all doors, hood and trunk to inspect for corrosion, mud and dirt or discoloration on the door frames, hinges and under the weather stripping.
  • See if moisture is stuck in the lights (a visible water line may still show on the lens or reflector and moisture beads and fog can build up in light fixtures from flooding)
  • Check all warning lights, window motors and all electrical components to ensure they are working properly. While a non-working part alone does not mean the vehicle was flooded, it combined with other difficulties is a cause for concern.
  • Have a trusted mechanic examine your vehicle or bring it to any of AAA’s approved auto repair shops


For those in the market for a used vehicle that are worried about purchasing a previously flood damaged vehicle, always request a vehicle history report. While such reports don’t always catch everything, more often than not they will indicate when a vehicle has been in a flood or been issued a salvage title, indicating a major problem in its past. For more information on purchasing a vehicle through AAA, visit


The best protection against buying a flood-damaged vehicle is a thorough pre-purchase inspection by a qualified shop such as an AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility. Nearby locations can be found at As a part of their inspection, the shop will look for common indicators of flood damage.