BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – There are thousands of cars on the road that have been subjected to flood damage. With Hurricane Ian, we can expect more to hit the red-hot used-car market in the months to come.
At first glance, a car might look okay, but how can you check to see if it’s been in a flood? Tony Mastrangelo at KeMas Auto Service in Boardman says water damage will show up in your oil and fluids.
“Transmission becomes creamy, milky with liquid, and that’s the easiest way to check if it’s been submerged,” he said. “Once it’s been submerged, the computers and everything else associated with it is done.”
Other things to check are rust where it shouldn’t be, like hinges in the doors and hood, a water line on the headlight covers or if the carpet has been replaced on an older model car — that’s another red flag. And there is one thing Mastrangelo says that can’t be covered up.
“The musty smell will not go away cause it will go in the headliner and seats. They can change and do whatever they can, but it will stay in that vehicle.”
Water getting into a closed system like through the tailpipe could cause problems, not only in a hurricane-ravaged community but also closer to home in heavy rain.
“They run through flooded areas, and the biggest thing is if you have to go through it, don’t stop. If you stop, that water gets sucked up into that tailpipe and locks that motor up instantly. We had a couple that were towed in,” Mastrangelo said.
When buying a used car, always get a second opinion.
“Before you buy anything, take it to me or someone else. Have them put it on the rack and get a second set of eyes. It’s always good to do,” Mastrangelo said.