Don't purchase a used or certified pre-owned vehicle that has been damaged by storm-related flooding! According to analysts from Cox Automotive, roughly 300,000 to 500,000 vehicles will have been severely damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Post-Irma, the number of actual vehicles damaged by flooding could rise even higher. Use the following list, along with "doing your homework" on any vehicle in which you may be interested to avoid getting a flood-damaged vehicle.


  • Check if your state issues flood or salvage titles. This may help you avoid being on the receiving end of a flooded car.
  • Get an Autocheck report to see whether or not your vehicle has been flooded. While there's no guarantee a flooded vehicle will have been reported, this is definitely a great first step.
  • Get a Carfax report. Similar to getting an Autocheck report, this is not a 100% guarantee that your vehicle won't have been flooded if the flooding was never reported. However, it is also a good first step. Also of note is the fact that Carfax has opened up its flooded vehicle database in the wake of the recent summer storms.
  • Learn to identify all the warning signs of a flood-damaged vehicle, including: 1) a musty odor inside the cabin, 2) moisture or mud residue under carpeting (if you're able to check that), 3) moisture or mud residue in the spare tire well, silt in the glovebox, 4) mud or silt residue in the front seat tracks, door hinge boxes, and inside of doors (under door liner, if accessible), 5) surface rust on exposed steel brackets under the dashboard and instrument panel or under seats, 6) water or condensation in the headlights or taillights, 7) power doors or liftgates that don't work correctly, 8) corrosion in the vehicle's undercarriage - like on brake lines or the fuel tank.
  • Beware of vehicles with non-matching VINs. There's a chance they could have been reconditioned and retitled. If the VINs don't match, it's probably a good bet to proceed with caution, or better yet, avoid the car altogether.


For any other questions about the used car buying experience, certified pre-owned vehicles, or BMW vehicles in general, reach out to us at Rick Hill BMW, or visit our dealership in person. Our goal is to help you find a good quality new, used, or certified pre-owned BMW that is in good condition so you can enjoy the "ultimate driving experience" for years to come!