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Flood Vehicles

This past fall when Maryland, and much of the northern East Coast was hit with record rain falls, over flowing rivers and lakes cost many people their vehicles and sometimes much more. There were areas, such as Ellicott City, that roads became rivers, and anything in its path was washed away or completely flooded with water. I saw pictures and video of vehicles that were under water up to their roof and being washed down the road by the force of the current. When a vehicle sustains this type of water damage, there is not much an insurance company can do but mark the vehicle as a “total loss.”

This week we were hired by a national car auction facility to clean up several of these flooded vehicles for their auction. After the insurance company had acquired the totaled vehicles from their owners, and then sold it to this company to auction off in an attempt to recoup some of the loss, months has passed. These vehicles had been sitting, completely closed up, with standing water for all that time. They were full of mud and mold, and smelled in a way you would not believe. Luckily, the company did not need these vehicles perfect; they just wanted the mud and visible mold out so they could be sold for parts at auction. The pictures with this post do not do justice to just how bad these vehicles actually were.

The worst vehicle in the group was a Black 2009 Ford Focus. It appeared like it had been well taken care of prior to the flood. There were no scratches or dents, and the interior had no damage or tears that could be seen. The problem was the inch of mud that covered EVERYTHING inside the vehicle, from the floors to the rearview mirror. There was a line on the windshield right above the rear view mirror that appeared to be the high water mark. Fortunately for us, more water would be unable to do more damage then was already done. This allowed us to power wash the interior of the vehicles without worrying about the negative effects of getting water into sensitive areas. Once the mud was washed and vacuumed out of the vehicles, we could start on the task of removing as much of the mold and standing water as possible. We used an industrial steamer and bio-hazard chemicals to remedy the mold and musty smell. It took a few hours for each vehicle, but we were able to get it done.

In the end, the vehicles came out pretty well, considering the starting point. Obviously, they could not be sold as new, but you would have to look closely to see that they were once completely caked in mud and mold. I would say I even learned a few things during the process on how to more effectively deal with severely damaged flood vehicles of this nature.

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