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Is It Safe to Buy Flood Damaged Electric Cars? Here’s What Happens if a Tesla Goes in Water

Water-damaged electric cars are those that have been exposed to water, whether through flooding or heavy rain. The water can cause damage to the electrical components of the car, including the battery, which can lead to a loss of power and range. In some cases, the damage can be so severe that the car may need to be replaced entirely. However, there are still so many things that need your address when buying a water-damaged Tesla.

Here is a detailed guide to explain the deal with water damage cars from the experts in the industry.

What Damage Can Flood Cause to EVs?

The extent of the damage will depend on how long the car was submerged, and how deep the water was. However, most often these water-damaged cars are put up for auction and sold, and then the damage is assessed. Here is a list of common things that could go wrong on a water-damaged electric car:

  • Electric modules
  • Wiring harness connectors
  • Charger or under seat dual charger damage
  • Drivetrain damage
  • Water ingress damage on the battery pack
  • Firmware redeploys

If the water was only a few inches deep, and the car was only submerged for a short period of time, then there may not be any significant damage. However, if the water was deeper, or the car was submerged for an extended period of time, then the damage could be much more severe.

The most common type of damage from water is corrosion, not the damage to the battery packs. This can cause problems with the electrical system, as well as with the paint and body of the car. However, most buyers of such cars say battery packs are packed and sealed very carefully and seldom have severe damage.

Salvage & Destruction Title

There is another thing that points out the need to have a clear distinction between salvage title and destruction title. Before you buy any water-damaged electric car, it’s important to get a history report showing all accidents or damage that has been reported.

flooded tesla

Salvage title allows the car to be back on road without any issue and is covered by most insurance carriers. Such cars sell for 15 to 40 percent of their original value. This is especially important for Salvaged Title cars, as you’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting into.

Salvaged Title means the insurance company would be more than okay with the cars being back on the road. However, the destruction title is even trickier as insurance companies often do not want to deal with EVs with water damage to get the necessary inspection done. They do so that no one comes back to point fingers at them if something goes south with such cars back on road. However, many of such totaled EVs with destruction titles are restorable and have zero body damage, untouched frames, and OEM hardware intact.

Should You Buy a Flood Damaged Electric Car?

The buying process of such water damage is also no easy feat says Pete Gruber, the owner of Gruber Motors dealing in purchasing flood-damaged Tesla Model S sedans. However, he also goes on to explain how to restore such water-damaged electric cars to gain profit and deal with pitfalls in one of his YouTube videos.

Pete says that they bought around 22 Tesla Model S after the 2017 hurricane on the east coast. However, not all came out as a winner for them. In fact, one of those Model S could only run for around 497 miles before losing out entirely. Another green Model S from Massachusetts looked great in pictures but came out severely damaged by saltwater along with barnacle growths on the underbelly of the cars.

Body shop companies and dealers of water-damaged cars are the potential buyers of the water-damaged Tesla cars. The list includes body shops, dismantlers, spray paint, and metal bending guys. The competition in this niche is pretty tight, and that could be a significant sign of making good money.

Can a Flooded Electric Car Be Repaired?

The process of repairing a flood-damaged electric vehicle can be complex. This includes looking for any water damage, rust, or other damage that may have occurred. Insurance companies often ignore the degree of damage by water in such cases and would generally total a car without careful investigation.

It is important to make sure that the mechanic has the experience and expertise to properly repair the vehicle. Moreover, it is important to make sure that the certified mechanic has access to the proper tools and equipment to properly repair the water-damaged vehicle.

Once the damage has been assessed, the mechanic will then begin to disassemble the vehicle. This process may include removing parts such as the battery, engine, transmission, and other major components.

Is It a Bad Idea to Purchase Flood Damaged Tesla?

Buying damaged cars, specifically, the ones damaged by flood or water could be even more complex. The risk of buying a totaled water-damaged Tesla is much like gambling. Sometimes the buyers of flood-damaged cars get lucky, and sometimes the purchase could be a total loss.

A lot of people are wondering if they should buy a Tesla that has been damaged in a flood. There are a few things to consider before making this purchase. Pete from Gruber Motors suggests taking some proactive decisions before deciding on purchasing a flood-damaged Tesla car. Here are some of the things he mentions to increase the odds of getting the best out of the flood damage:

Do Your Research

Buying any vehicle from an auction requires you to do deep research to make an informed decision. Most auctions put a water damage line on the auction cars. Many things become clear with that line itself. Dig in to get all the information about the water-damaged Tesla you want to buy.

Storm History

Look for any recent floods or hurricanes that have happened in the few months of the auction.

Avoid Salt Water Damage

Saltwater and electricals are the worst combinations when looking to buy water-damaged Tesla. The reason for this is that saltwater damage can cause serious corrosion to the electrical components in your Tesla.

Musty Smell & Mold

Musty Smell when looking to buy a water-damaged Tesla is a great idea. When you are looking for a water-damaged Tesla, it is important to check for a musty smell. A musty smell could be a sign of rotting leaves stuck in air filters or mold, which could indicate that the car has been in a flood for a long time. If you notice a musty smell, it is best to have the car inspected before making a decision.


For the electric car that may have been caught in the storm, inspect seat tracks, and the heads of screws under the dash for corrosion. Also, look under carpets and behind taillights for muddy residue—these are telltale indicators that a car has experienced prolonged submersion.

If you notice any of these things, it’s best to take the opinion of a certified mechanic or dealership to have it looked at. They’ll be able to tell you for sure if the damage is extensive and whether or not it can be repaired. In some cases, water damage can be so severe that the car will need to be completely replaced.


When it comes to electric cars, there’s a lot of talk about their many benefits. And rightfully so – they’re more environmentally friendly than gas-powered cars, they’re often cheaper to operate and maintain, and they can be a lot of fun to drive. They’re as susceptible to water damage as are their gasoline-powered counterparts.

That’s because electric cars have a lot of sensitive electronics onboard, and those electronics are vulnerable to water damage. In fact, insurance carriers have begun to total water-damaged electric cars because the cost of repairing them can be so high.

So, if you’re thinking about buying an electric car, it’s important to be aware of the risks. And if you do find yourself buying a water-damaged electric car, don’t lose heart and get it assessed for complete repair needs. Chances are the repairs would cost much lower, and you could have winner water damaged Tesla.

Flood-damaged electric cars are structure-wise no different than the ones on an assembly line. Once the electronic modules and other things are fixed, you can have yourself a clean title car. Tesla cars are rather sturdy and are repairable in most circumstances. Moreover, there is an upper hand for water damage car owners as Tesla has now started taking service requests for such vehicles.

Do you think buying water-damaged electric cars make sense? Share your views on what you think!

Purnima Rathi
Purnima Rathi
Purnima has a strong love for EVs. Whether it's classic cars or modern performance vehicles, she likes to write about anything with four wheels, especially if there's a cool story behind it.


  1. I need higher demand around my home and family home soon as possible 24hours all around tight security at all time yes Trump people stay trailing behind me Governor Murphy play a part also Mr.Biden is you apart of this but you sitting in my White House yall made my life unsafe out here make car to attack Chief Executive officer

  2. This is no different than an ICE. Both have electrical circuits and modules susceptible to water intrusion damage. The rule is the same as it always has been: flood, salvage, rebuilt, total loss have substantial risk, regardless of what powers your drivetrain. Stupid article, as is most “journalism” these days.

  3. I’m sorry but the biggest problem with this article is the should you buy is only being approached in the short term dealer perspective. The short term viability of flood cars is not the issue for consumers, it’s the long-term consumers worry about and in the long-term flood cars are a bad idea. The exception to this would be old cars with no or limited electrical components.

  4. Every last one of these gimmick battery powered junk piles should all be drowned! They’re total garbage n a part of the hoax green new deal from that tyrant communist traitor, not a real president just a real communist that should be executed a thousand times over! He’s a rotten sob!


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