Home > Press > Buyer Beware: Flooded Vehicles Expected to Resurface in the Wake of Hurricane Dorian

Buyer Beware: Flooded Vehicles Expected to Resurface in the Wake of Hurricane Dorian

Carfax Offers Free Flood Check and 7 Signs of a Flood-Damaged Car

CENTREVILLE, Va. (September 12, 2019) – New data from Carfax shows flood-damaged vehicles are resurfacing across the country, and increasingly in states where flooding may not be top of mind for car buyers. Carfax estimates there are 408,280 flood damaged vehicles on the roads nationwide, and that number will likely rise following Hurricane Dorian this month. Historically, about half the vehicles damaged by floods end up back on the market. It’s a striking reminder to unsuspecting buyers to do their due diligence when used car shopping.

Vehicles reported as flood damaged by a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Canadian province, insurance companies and more are in use in every state, and these ten states have the most:

  1.  Texas – 87,400   6.  Illinois – 15,600
  2.  Florida – 28,900   7.  New Jersey – 12,600
  3.  Kentucky – 24,900   8.  Louisiana – 11,500
  4.  Pennsylvania – 19,800   9.  California – 11,300
  5.  North Carolina – 18,700   10.  New York – 11,000

“What’s alarming about flooded cars is they are literally rotting from the inside out,” said Carvana Vice President Jeff Miller. “In addition to the financial consequences, there are significant health and safety concerns. Water eats away at the mechanical parts, shorts the electrical system and can impact safety, compromising important features like airbags and anti-lock brakes. It’s not also not uncommon to see dangerous mold and bacteria in the car.”

“Our research tells us cars with a waterlogged history are everywhere,” said Faisal Hasan, Carfax General Manager of Data. “The ramifications of water damage can haunt unsuspecting buyers for years. Used car buyers need to be vigilant about checking for the warning signs of flood damage no matter what part of the country they live in. Make sure you do your due diligence; take it for a test drive, have a professional inspect it and check the vehicle history report.”

To help protect consumers, Carfax is letting them check for reported flood damage free of charge at carfax.com/flood. We’ve also included a list of the 7 telltale signs of flooding:

  1. A musty odor in the interior, which can sometimes be covered with a strong air-freshener
  2. Upholstery or carpeting which is loose, new, stained or doesn’t match
  3. Damp carpets
  4. Rust around doors, under the dashboard, on the pedals or inside the hood and trunk latches
  5. 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: Localized flooded vehicle statistics are available upon request. An infographic with the top 10 cities and a heat map is available for use at https://www.carfax.com/press/resources/flooded-cars along with footage of a flood car being cleaned up and made to look cosmetically like a good used car.

A Carfax representative is available anytime for interviews via satellite, phone, Skype or in-person. Please contact Emilie Voss at 571-329-8896 to schedule.

About Carfax

Carfax, part of IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO), helps millions of people every day confidently shop, buy, own 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, myCarfax, 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 a nationally recognized top workplace by The Washington Post and Glassdoor.com. Shop, Buy, Own, Sell – Show me the Carfax™. Based in London, IHS Markit is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.