Protecting your Car from Storm Damage

Storm damage can take its toll on a vehicle. Heavy rains, floods and falling debris can cause significant damage that is not always apparent to the naked eye. It may take a closer inspection to determine your car has been compromised due to bad weather.

If you suspect your car has suffered damage from a storm, or if you are shopping for used vehicles, there are some warning signs that can be assessed. A professional auto mechanic may be necessary to determine the exact problem and estimate the amount of damage to the vehicle, but most car owners or buyers can conduct inspections of their own.

Many unsuspecting consumers are subjected to buying cars that have suffered previous storm damage. Unethical sales people can purchase damaged cars cheap and disguise existing problems temporarily, leaving the new owner to foot the bill for the costly repairs down the road.


  1. Walk around the outside of the vehicle and take note of any damage such as dents, chipped paint or broken parts on the exterior of the vehicle. Be sure to check the tires, windows and fenders as well. Write down any noticeable damage to the vehicle; if you are taking notes for your own insurance purposes, take pictures of damage or problems.
  2. Check inside the vehicle and take note of any smells that may result from water damage, mold or mildew. Use your flashlight to closely inspect under the floor mats, behind and under the seats. Look closely at those less obvious places like the sides of the dashboard, inside the fold-out backseat, the interior roof and the trunk area. Smells, cracks or fabric stains often indicate water damage.
  3. Open the hood of the vehicle and look for any signs of damage. Rusty or visibly damaged parts are an indicator of water damage. Turn the car on and check the gears and the emergency brake and all electronic functions.
  4. Take it for an extensive test drive if you are looking to buy. Drive at various speeds to ensure the vehicle drives well at different speeds and gears. Listen and watch for any signs and sounds of damage. Shaking, grinding, squealing or dashboard warning lights during your test drive is a clear indication of a problem.
  5. Discuss your list of issues with the car salesman if you are still interested in purchasing the car. Ask for a vehicle history report on the vehicle you are looking to purchase and inquire where the used car was purchased.
  6. Discuss the issues with your insurance company if you suspect your own car has damage as the result of a storm. Follow their instructions for getting estimates and repairs before attempting to fix the problem on your own.

Sources: eHow