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CARFAX: As Many As 212,000 Vehicles Damaged By Hurricane Ida

Free Tool on CARFAX Lets Used-Car Shoppers Check for Flood Damage

CENTREVILLE, Va. (Sept. 16, 2021) – In the wake of Hurricane Ida and other intense storms across the United States, consumers need to be on alert for flooded vehicles resurfacing on the used car market. CARFAX data suggests widespread flooding from Hurricane Ida – centered around New York City, New Jersey, and Louisiana – potentially damaged as many as 212,000 vehicles.

That’s on top of 378,000 flood-damaged cars that CARFAX data shows were already on the road in 2021. Texas continues to lead the nation in the number of flood-damaged cars on the road today, but CARFAX data shows water-damaged vehicles appear even in states where flooding isn’t common.

“Our data suggests that unsuspecting buyers everywhere are at risk of winding up with a previously flooded car,” said Chris Basso, CARFAX spokesperson. “The real danger is that these cars may look fine and run well for a while, but sooner rather than later major problems are likely to occur. Flooded cars literally rot from the inside out and the damage is often difficult for untrained eyes to detect. Together with our dealers, CARFAX is making the necessary resources available to help ensure consumers avoid unknowingly buying one of these waterlogged wrecks.”

Flood-damaged vehicles are in use in every state, but CARFAX data shows these 10 states have the most:

To help protect consumers, CARFAX offers a free Flood Check® tool, a national map that shows where flood cars have washed up, and a flood damage checklist at carfax.com/flood.

We’ve also included a list of the seven telltale signs of a flooded car:

  1. A musty odor in the interior, which sellers sometimes try to cover with a strong air-freshener
  2. Loose, stained, or mismatched upholstery and carpeting
  3. Damp carpets
  4. Rust around doors, under the dashboard, on the pedals, or inside the hood and trunk latches
  5. Dried mud or silt in the glove compartment or under the seats
  6. Brittle wires under the dashboard
  7. Fog or moisture beads in the interior lights, exterior lights, or instrument panel

Editor’s note: Statistics on flood-damaged cars specifically for your area are available upon request. Interviews with a used car expert from CARFAX also are available at any time. Please contact PublicRelations@carfax.com.


CARFAX, part of IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO), helps millions of people every day confidently shop, buy, service and sell used cars with innovative solutions powered by CARFAX vehicle history information. The expert in vehicle history since 1984, CARFAX provides exclusive services like CARFAX Used Car Listings, CARFAX Car Care, CARFAX History-Based Value and the flagship CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™ to consumers and the automotive industry. CARFAX owns the world’s largest vehicle history database and is nationally recognized as a top workplace by The Washington Post and Glassdoor.com. Shop, Buy, Service, Sell – Show me the CARFAX™. Based in London, IHS Markit is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.