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Flood Damaged cars are making their way to Georgia! The recent hurricane in addition to the car shortage created the perfect storm for this. Don't be a victim of this scam.?

Our hearts go out to everyone that has had their lives uprooted with the recent storms. The devastation of Hurricane Ian caused has left some without homes or cars. Unfortunately, there are many unsuspecting car buyers that can fall prey to unethical car sellers during times like these If you are in the market to buy right now in Macon, Perry, Forsyth and Warner Robins, check out our selection of certified used vehicles. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t unknowingly end up purchasing a flood damaged car.  

What qualifies a car as a “flood damaged” car?  

Basically, flood damage is when water has seeped into the insides of the car and into the floor. Besides the rust damage, carpeting and seating that would need to be replaced, the water from the flood damage has likely also seeped into electronic components as well. In nearly every case, the car would be considered a total loss because the repairs would cost more than the car is worth.  These cars are commonly sold at auctions and then scrapped for parts. Usually it gets a “salvage” title and is sold to a junk yard.  

The first thing you may wonder is if you don’t live in or near a place that was hit by a hurricane, why should you worry?  

Sadly, there are many unscrupulous people that just want to make a buck. Many cars are intentionally shipped to places far away from where the storm hit to “hide” the fact that they have flood damage. Since people that live there didn’t experience the storm, they may incorrectly assume that the vehicle couldn't have flood damage.  They are shipped to states with lenient laws on registration to bypass the damage. 

Ok, but wouldn’t flood damage be listed on the Vehicle History Report?  

Maybe, but maybe not. Let’s say a car did have flood damage but it was never fixed but instead traded in somewhere and sold at auction. This may not have been reported and wouldn’t turn up in a report. 

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) offers a free, searchable database of vehicle identification numbers (VIN) that may show a salvage title even if the seller isn't honest about the car's past. The car must have been insured when the damage occurred.  

Protip: Check the vehicle’s registration. Was it registered in Florida or the Carolinas recently? That could be a big red flag.    


What to look for in a flooded car? How can I tell if the car I am looking at has been flooded?  

  • The first sign of flood damage will be a moldy or musty smell. Open the door and take a whiff near the floor mats. Also press down and floor mats to see if they feel damp. If they are, this could be a red flag. Look at places where there are metal and screws (don’t forget to check the area around the spare tire), if you see rust this is a sign of flood damage.  

  • Look between the seats and in the storage spaces in the door. After the water drained, there will be dirt and maybe small stones, indicating flood damage.  

  • Also look for flood lines – these are areas where water seeped in and then drained out. This will be in the front where the lights are and under the hood at the back where there is sound dampening cloth. If you see a line, this is a good indication of flood damage.  

  • Use the flashlight on your phone and look under the car. There should be no rust or signs of corrosion.  

What if I do suspect there has been flood damage but the car drives just fine? I really need to buy a car. 

Nope, don’t buy it. Just walk away. There is a reason flood damaged cars are given a title of “salvage” or “rebuilt”. These cars may not appear to be damaged right away, but serious damage can happen later on 

There were tens of thousands of cars flooded in Hurricane Ian and we don’t want you to buy one of them. We at Butler Lexus stand behind every car we sell and would never sell a flood damaged car. In this environment, buying a car is stressful enough. If you are currently in the market for a car, come visit our trusted dealership or have us inspect the car before you purchase it. 

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