Flood damage: what you need to know - How do I tell if a car has been flooded?
• The simplest test is to run your hands over the boot carpet or around the spare wheel well and feel for water, although this is more indicative of a leak than flooding;
• Check below the seats, dashboard and in the glove compartment for signs of silt, water marks or rust;
• Look closely to see if all the upholstery matches and fits well. Look for signs of water damage such as discoloured, faded or stained materials;
• Turn the key in the ignition - do all the warning lights come on as they should? If the electrics are faulty, water could have damaged them;
• Start the engine and look for smoke and listen for unusual noises. If the engine doesn't start, it may indicate electrical problems;
• Likewise, test everything electrical - windscreen wipers, indicators, the radio, the cigarette lighter and air-conditioning;
• Gently flex the visible wires under the dashboard, as wires that have been submersed in water will eventually become brittle;
• Check the engine oil for signs of a pale sticky emulsion, which indicates water in the engine;
• If you have any doubts but still want to buy then get an expert inspection - it will prove cheaper in the long run if the car has got a problem.