Special Report: Don't Purchase that Flood Damaged Car!

Special Report:  Don't Purchase that Flood Damaged Car! »Play Video
ELLENSBURG -- Earlier this year, many areas were hit with flooding, including areas in Ellensburg, Cle Elum and on the west side near Puyallup. It is important to be on the lookout for cars caught in those floods. Sellers have gotten clever at hiding the damage, so Action News asked professionals for advice.

Auto mechanic, Jason Mallick has worked on flood damaged cars in the area for decades. "If you see one that's too shiny, and too clean, there's probably a reason for it," said Mallick. He says finding water damages on a car is something everyone is capable of.

"If you want to do it you want to look underneath the car. That's the biggest thing. That's why this is so important, you can see the lines of where everything is at. You can tell it just had mud drawn up from it but on the plastic you can see a water line that will show up obviously," explained Mallick. Another way to see if a car had been damaged by a flood is by checking underneath the panels. Many sellers forget to clean these areas. In addition, looking at the engine is a must, because many sellers are good at hiding flood damage there.

Pointing at a flood damaged engine, Mallick explained, "Usually the detailers will clean all of this off, so everything will look gleaming when you see it. It will look shiny and look like something that's decent, but down in the nooks and crannies, there's holes in the panels for access and anything you see down in here, that inside of that panel will show a water line and it will show a mud line and debris as well."

An inspection is not the only way to make sure a car is worth purchasing. A mechanic may have already done it for you, and have posted their results Online. Mechanics use sites like Carfax.com. You type in a car's vehicle identification number and it will show you the car's entire history, including previous damages.

If you have already purchased a used car that has water damage, Mallick says not all is lost. He says for the most part, everything is fixable, but it will be expensive. Finding a trustworthy, certified mechanic to fix your car is the best, in receiving quality repairs. Sites like Carfax.com are not free, but it is often worth it to pay the small fee for the report, when you are planning to spend thousands of dollars for a car.