How to Determine Flood Damage for your Vehicle in the New Orleans area


In light of recent weather and hurricane season in general, flooded vehicles may impact drivers in Metairie, New Orleans, and the surrounding areas. If you're vehicle has recently taken on water, Lexus of New Orleans is here to help. Whether you're wondering next steps or if a car has any water damage, our team of experts can guide you in the process.

You'll know what to do if your car was damaged by the recent flash flooding in the Jefferson, Orleans, and St. Tammany Parishes by following these steps:

Step 1: Check Your Oil Indicator

If the oil level on your indicator is very high (especially higher than usual), there is a good chance that your vehicle has some flood-damage. If your vehicle has flood damage, do not to start or turn on your vehicle.

Step 2: Measure The Amount Of Water Your Vehicle Took On
   
While your vehicle may be flooded, it's important to get a clear idea of how much water it took on. If the water never reached above the bottom of the car doors, there is a good chance your vehicle didn't experience significant damage. It's important to also note how long your vehicle held water. The shorter the time water was in your vehicle, the better. Please note that the vehicle will likely be totaled by your insurance company if the water has risen to the dashboard at any point.

Step 3: Get In Touch With Your Car Insurance Company

It's important to call your vehicle insurance company in a timely manner to alert them of your vehicle's state and walk through your policy. The earlier you get in contact with them, the sooner you can get back on the road.  

Don't Be Afraid to Claim Your Vehicle As Totaled
If you see hints of significant damage, don't hesitate to push your insurance company to claim your vehicle as totaled. It may save you time and money in the long run.

Step 4: Start Drying the Interior of Your Car

To avoid mold, mildew and smells, we recommend you beginning drying out your car immediately. Remove water soaked items such as floormats. Open as many windows as you can. Towel dry the interior as much as possible.

Step 5: Check for Leaking of Fluids

Does your vehicle have any leaking fluids? Double check everything to make sure there's no leaks: oil, air cleaner, brake, clutch, etc. If you do notice any leaking, contact a tow truck.

Step 6: Check Your Electrical Systems

If you do start your car, know that water damage can have an extremely negative effect on your vehicle's electrical systems. After you turn your vehicle on, double check everything -- including but not limited to your stereo, headlights, and power locks. Is everything is functioning properly? If anything seems off, we recommend bringing your vehicle in to get serviced.

Step 7: Check for Surrounding Debris and Obstacles

In addition to flooding, debris and loose objects can cause damage to your vehicle during flooding. Make sure that nothing has caused additional damage to your car's exterior and that there is nothing under your vehicle. Take a walk around your vehicle and check under it.

Tips on buying a car after flood damage:

If you do have to buy a car in New Orleans or the surrounding areas after flooding, be cautious and do your research. Sometimes vehicles on used car lots will be flood-damaged with the damage in question hidden. Make sure you get a full history of any vehicle before buying, work with a reputable dealer, and check for any obvious signs of damage that may be visible. We have a hotline to answer any of your questions.

With so much to do after the flooding in the area, we hope that this information helps you to feel better about any damage you may find.

-- Signs of a Flood-Damaged Vehicle

Here are some initial things to check to help determine if a vehicle is a flood-damaged vehicle:
  •     Smell: Does the vehicle have a musty odor? Be careful as sellers may use a strong air fresheners to mask smells.
  •     Damp Carpets or Seats: If possible, try to check the padding of carpets and seats. Typically padding will not dry as fast, thus holding moisture longer.
  •     Corrosion: Look for corrosion and rust in places that should not have it: Seat Springs, Door Jams, Under Dashboard, Pedals.
  •     Moisture: Check for moisture in places that should not have it: Instrument Panel, Lights, Dashboard, Console.

Lexus of New Orleans is here to help in any way we can. Give us a call at (504) 207-3100 or visit us at 8811 Veterans Memorial Blvd in Metairie, LA 70003.

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