Some Telltale Signs a Van Has Suffered Flood Damageposted on 27 May 2014 | posted in Tips
Although it is in your best interest to purchase a used van as opposed to saddling yourself with the huge monthly payment and insurance rates inherent in buying a new van, there are certain things one must consider when taking the plunge. You have to consider what has happened to the van during its lifetime with its previous owner – or owners, as the case may be. You probably already know that you should beware of a damaged axle in the case of a collision, for instance. What you may not be accustomed to thinking about, however, is the possibility that the van may have been in a flood.
If you are wondering what the big deal is about floods and vans meeting up, just consider what it would be like for 10 feet of water to make its way into your house. For one thing, your upholstery is going to be ruined. Because it is very difficult to get all the water out of something like a couch (or the front seat of a van), the upholstery may suffer from long-term moisture, which will lead to mold. In the case of cloth upholstery especially, soaking may damage the shape or the overall quality of the materials. Dye may even run.
Think about how being drowned will affect your electronics. These may or may not be able to dry out completely, a situation that can lead to nasty shorts in the system. There is no reason to believe that drowned electronics will ever work properly again. You can see where this is going – your van is a one-ton mass of electronics.
One of the easiest ways to tell whether a van has been in a flood is by climbing in and taking a good sniff for the scent of mildew. In addition, floods often cause van liquids like gasoline and oil to make their way to the fabrics as well, and those smells will likely be present. If it is apparent that someone has gone to great lengths to disguise the van's smell, such as applying too much air freshener or New Van Smell, then that is cause for suspicion.
Another sign that a van has gone for a dip is dirt and moisture trapped inside the lights. This is very easy to check for, but it is also easy to overlook unless you make a special point to check. Other telltale places to check are inside the glove box and in the trunk, not to mention beneath the hood.
One very clever thing that you can do is check to see if the automobile components match. If an automobile has been given the emergency room treatment and had its components – stereo, seats, carpet, et cetera – changed very quickly, then that is a sign that it could have suffered flood damage.
Of course, you can never be completely certain a seller is being completely legitimate about the van's history with you, but being armed with even a little bit of knowledge really decreases the likelihood that you will make costly mistakes.