Moldy,Damp, Rusty Truth — 378 K Flood Damaged Cars

CARFAX: Flooded Cars on the Road in 2021

In the wake of Hurricane Ida and other intense storms across the United States, consumers need to be on alert for flooded vehicles resurfacing on the used car market. CARFAX data suggests widespread flooding from Hurricane Ida – centered around New York City, New Jersey, and Louisiana – potentially damaged as many as 212,000 vehicles.

That’s on top of 378,000 flood-damaged cars that CARFAX data shows were already on the road in 2021. Texas continues to lead the nation in the number of flood-damaged cars on the road today, but CARFAX data shows water-damaged vehicles appear even in states where flooding isn’t common.

“Our data suggests that unsuspecting buyers everywhere are at risk of winding up with a previously flooded car,” said Chris Basso, CARFAX spokesperson. “The real danger is that these cars may look fine and run well for a while, but sooner rather than later major problems are likely to occur. Flooded cars literally rot from the inside out and the damage is often difficult for untrained eyes to detect. Together with our dealers, CARFAX is making the necessary resources available to help ensure consumers avoid unknowingly buying one of these waterlogged wrecks.”

Flood-damaged vehicles are in use in every state, but CARFAX data shows these 10 states have the most:

1

Texas

66,500

6

California

14,000

2

Florida

34,000

7

Illinois

13,500

3

Kentucky

23,800

8

South Carolina

11,400

4

Pennsylvania

19,000

9

New Jersey

11,200

5

North Carolina

15,300

10

Michigan

10,400

To help protect consumers, CARFAX offers a free Flood Check® tool, a national map that shows where flood cars have washed up, and a flood damage checklist at carfax.com/flood.

We’ve also included a list of the seven telltale signs of a flooded car:

  1. A musty odor in the interior, which sellers sometimes try to cover with a strong air-freshener
  2. Loose, stained, or mismatched upholstery and carpeting
  3. Damp carpets
  4. Rust around doors, under the dashboard, on the pedals, or inside the hood and trunk latches
  5. Dried mud or silt in the glove compartment or under the seats
  6. Brittle wires under the dashboard
  7. Fog or moisture beads in the interior lights, exterior lights, or instrument panel

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