The recent heavy rains across the UAE created severe flooding and it wasn’t just residents who were caught up in the stormy weather. Photos and videos of countless vehicles submerged in water have been surfacing online and suffice to say the damage they incurred would be very serious. So much so, that many owners would consider parting with these vehicles rather than paying to repair them... 

Many of them may come with a bargain price tag but are they too good to be true? Probably, but how can you tell if as vehicle has suffered flood-damage? It’s best to have a qualified mechanic to inspect a pre-owned vehicle before you go ahead and hand over any money no matter what the circumstances but there are some areas that won't dry no matter how hard someone tries to cover it up so get your eyes, hands and even your nose ready, folks! Here are our 10 tips to help you tell if the vehicle you are considering buying has been salvaged…

1 – Vehicle identification number.

You can check its title history by running its VIN (vehicle identification number) to see if it has been reported as being flooded and salvaged.

2 – Recently shampooed interior

Are there any signs that the interior has recently been steam cleaned or shampooed or had the carpeting replaced? A freshly cleaned upholstery could be signs of a clean-up job due to flooding. Also, look for signs of undue wear or fading on door panels.

3 – Follow your nose!

Look for water residue, stain marks or signs of rust by pulling up a corner of the floor covering in both the passenger compartment and the boot. Sniff these areas thoroughly for evidence of mold or musty odors.

4 – Moisture

Feel around for moisture in areas such as the dashboard and interior storage cubbies – there could well be mildew and grime inside the seatbelt retractors so check there too. Rust on screws and upper door hinges will be another sign that the vehicle may have been flooded.

5 – Do the lights work?

Try the headlight, turn signals and all of the vehicles electrical systems and check that they all work fine. Put the radio on and listen to speakers carefully to check if they sound ok – water damage will easily cause them to emit a muffled sound. Also check for residue within the overhead dome light as the car could have been totally submerged…

6 – Mud and residue

Pop open the bonnet and look out for any signs of mud or residue in all the crevices, behind the wiring harnesses and around any small recesses.

7 – Electrics

Check electrical wiring and relays in the engine compartment and under the dash for rusted components, corrosion or water residue.

8 – Air filter

Check the vehicle’s air filter because if it gets wet, the paper will look crumpled even after it’s dried.

9 – Engine oil

Check the oil for changes in the colour and viscosity which could indicate that water has gotten into the engine. Oil in a flood-affected vehicle will be a different colour; it may be pale when it should be dark. Oil that's been affected by flooding may also feel sticky to the touch.

10 – Rust

Finally, look underneath the car, inside the wheel-wells and around the door, bonnet and boot panels for evidence of rust.