How to Spot Flood Damaged Cars the SMART Way, from the Experts at The Appraisal LaneTM

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Tips to help dealers and private buyers spot flood damaged vehicles.

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These tips are designed to help both dealers and private buyers cover the basics when it comes to spotting flood damage, to help them avoid getting burned when buying.

In the midst of hurricane season, the expert car appraisers at The Appraisal LaneTM (http://www.theappraisallane.com) today outlined tips for car dealers and private buyers to spot flood damaged vehicles, as well as other important considerations when it comes to vehicles suspected of being involved in a flood.

“There are obvious and not-so-obvious signs when it comes to spotting a flood damaged car,” said Chris Tomchay, Co-Founder and COO of The Appraisal Lane and Co-Owner of the Georgia-Carolina Auto Auction. “These tips are designed to help both dealers and private buyers cover the basics when it comes to spotting flood damage, to help them avoid getting burned when buying.”

While the following signs do not indicate a car has indeed been flood damaged, Tomchay advises dealers and private buyers to be extra diligent – using the acronym SMART as a guide – in spotting issues which could signify big problems in the long run. Here are highlights.

S – Smell

Be on the lookout for musty, moldy smells in the interior of the vehicle which could indicate prior water damage. Strong musty odors in the passenger compartment are cause for concern.

M – Moisture

Pay attention to signs of moisture, such as damp carpets, upholstery, sun visors, and headliners. Be sure to examine the headlights and taillights for water. Pay particular attention to obvious water line marks.

A – Accumulation of Debris

The accumulation of mud, silt, grass, and other debris under the bumper covers, in the wheel wells, in the engine compartment, and in the air conditioning / heating vents could be telltale sign of flood damage. Be sure to check for debris inside the door panels too.

R – Rust and Corrosion

Inspect the vehicle for signs of rust on seat brackets attached to the floor, under the dash, and on the frame, springs, brake rotors, and drums of the vehicle. Pop the hood and look for signs of corrosion on engine components and connection points. Pay particular attention to significant corrosion in the wiring and fuses.

T – Trunk Check

Tomchay says a trunk check is one of the most important evaluations when it comes to spotting flood damage for three key reasons.

1) A depth of water that reaches the trunk often reaches the engine compartment and a significant portion of the interior too.

2) The trunk tends to be a repository for standing water and any debris receding water carries, including twigs, mud, sand, sludge, and more.

3) Inexperienced buyers often overlook a trunk check simply because they don’t think of it.

“Popping the trunk is a must,” said Tomchay. “Check for moldy odors, damp carpeting, standing water in the spare tire area, debris, mud, or silt, and visible water lines,” said Tomchay.

The Appraisal Lane consists of the country’s foremost vehicle appraisers whose sole responsibility is to evaluate thousands of cars each month across all makes and models. The company’s mobile app connects dealers with a larger community of appraisers and buyers to receive real time cash offers on inventory.

For dealers interested in more information about The Appraisal Lane, visit http://www.theappraisallane.com or email marketing(at)theappraisallane(dot)com.

About The Appraisal Lane™
The Appraisal Lane is a mobile app connecting dealers with a larger community of appraisers and buyers to receive real time cash offers on inventory. Fully optimized for mobile, the platform manages appraisal submissions, purchase offers, and dealer, appraiser, and buyer communications, as well as sales and fulfillment channel information. Among many other benefits, The Appraisal Lane gives dealers the ability to move used car inventory by providing accurate valuations; provide consistent consumer trade-in offers; the opportunity to white label the technology suite to power their own private networks; and the confidence to take used cars on trade regardless of a new car sale, ultimately improving their business in the process.

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