flood1More than 3,000 cars have been rescued from flood water by the AA in the past six weeks alone.

The recovery company now warns that unscrupulous sellers are now trying to flog their damaged motors on the used car market.

Insurers write off 70% of cars that have been immersed in flood water, either because the engine has been damaged or submerged electrical systems threaten the car’s safety.

AA Cars director David Bruce says: “While a car can be dried out with no obvious visual damage, immersion in floods can store up a range of potentially costly or dangerous problems that could emerge at a later date.

“For instance, catalytic converter and exhaust system life can be seriously compromised and there can be host of potentially serious electrical problems – including airbags spontaneously going off with a risk of injury.”

If you’re in the process of searching for a new car, take the following steps to make sure it’s not been damaged in recent floods:

  • Look out for private sellers trying to sell their car with the windows open to ventilate a damp car interior, or using air fresheners to mask the smell of damp.
  • Check the carpets for dampness.
  • If the car steams up easily, especially when the screen heater is turned on, there is moisture in the car.
  • Check the underside of the oil filler cap for a mayonnaise-like substance. This indicates there’s water in the oil, and usually suggests a leaking head gasket. It could also be a result of flood water getting in the engine.
  • Check that all the warning lights are working, as this could indicate electrical gremlins caused by water damage. For the same reason, check all electrical items in the car, such as the radio, electric windows and the lights.
  • Check the V5C to see if the car has been recorded as a Category C or D write-off. Also consider taking out a HPI check.

Flood damage can be difficult to spot, especially if it’s well hidden. If you have any suspicions don’t buy the car, it could have serious issues in the future.