The news frequently pictures cars stranded and even floating in deep water. When the disaster has passed and the clean up begins, what happens to all those damaged cars? Are they totaled and end up in scrap yards? Not necessarily! Many cars that are totaled due to flooding are simply cleaned up and re-sold. The sellers may not even reveal that the car has been flood damaged! According to Carfax :"Every year, tens of thousands of cars are flood damaged, and more than half of those end up back on the road. Unsurprisingly, this problem is magnified in regions which are vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms....But as scammers will often move cars between states to hide flood titles, anyone buying a used car needs to be aware of the signs of flood damage." If you are buying a used car, anywhere, you need to be a smart shopper and do your research. A flood-damaged car can experience problems months or even years after the event. You do not want to fall victim to deception and buy a flood car without knowing it.
The average buyer may not be able to tell that a car has been flood damaged. I am amazed at what a thorough detailing is able to conceal! According to Carfax, there are telltale signs that the car has experienced flood damage.
- A musty odor in the interior, which can sometimes be covered with a strong air-freshener
- Upholstery or carpeting which doesn’t match, is loose, new or stained
- Damp carpets
- Rust around doors, inside the hood and trunk latches, pedals or under the dashboard
- Mud or silt in the glove compartment or under seats
- Brittle wires under the dashboard
- Fog or moisture beads in the interior or exterior lights or instrument panel
There are also mechanical signs of flood damage, that may need an expert's eye to spot. How Stuff Works states: "A good mechanic will know where to look for signs of flood damage. That's especially true of places you may not know how to examine, such as the alternator, certain wiring mechanisms and pumps. The mechanic should also take the wheels off and inspect the brakes and wheel components, which can carry tell-tale remnants of a flood history, such as silt and mud."
Lastly, it is wise to obtain a vehicle history report. Edmunds.com has some useful information about the available free and subscription vehicle report services you can use. These reports will not only tell you the status of the car's title, you can also find out about the history of the vehicle's location. Remember, it's not unusual for flood cars to be moved to other areas of the country. Depending on the search service you use to obtain a vehicle history report, you will typically be provided with useful information which can include a history of recorded vehicle maintenance, accidents, and mileage history. Mileage history is important to know. While it is illegal to tamper with odometers, it is still done! When shopping for a used vehicle, we discovered a vehicle for sale that had evidence of odometer tampering!
While some people are willing to purchase salvage titled and flood cars, it's not without assuming some risk. Being fully informed about your purchase is important so YOU don't get soaked.
Take a look at the links below to learn more about flood cars and car research sites.
| || |