News 3 On Your Side: How to avoid buying a flood damaged car after Hurricane Matthew


For some Hurricane Matthew Survivors, the recovery process includes buying a new car.

News 3’s Courtney Cole is on your side with some advice to help you avoid buying one that has been damaged by floodwater from the storm.

If your car didn’t make it through the storm, we spoke to an expert at Carmax who told us what you need to look for so you don’t buy one with flood damage.

According to, 271,404 flooded cars are back on the roads nationwide right now.

So before you even start browsing the lot for your next car—the Purchasing Manager of the Abercorn Street Branch Carmax, Will Dobbeck, says you want to make sure that you’re shopping with a reputable dealer.

“Also, somewhere that will provide you with a vehicle history report to insure that you’re free of any flood brands, salvage brands or any insurance brands as well, to make sure you’re buying the car you expect,” Dobbeck told News 3.

You can also visit for free to find out if it has flood damage.

Now, the next thing you need to do is take a look inside of the car.

You’ll want to check for the obvious signs of damage first, like:

-A musty or unusual odor

-Standing water, debris or mud inside of the car

-Damp floor mats and carpet

-Rust around doors

Then you need to turn on the ignition and check all of the status lights.

“You’ll also want to check some of the electrical components. The speakers in the door, the power seat—make sure everything functions as it should. You’re also going to want to check under the dash. You can also check in the trunk, too, where the tire well is, where the spare is located. Make sure there’s not any standing water, silt or debris back there as well.”

Once all of this checks out, experts say it’s still a good idea to take a test drive and have a mechanic take a look at the car you have your eye on as well.


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