One of the things buyers are not always thinking about when looking at used cars is if a vehicle has suffered any water damage. Buyers always need to exercise caution when buying a used car: Check carfax to see if there is a history of the car, the overall miles, whether or not there has been an accident, and so on. With a shortage of used cars, buyers might need to be extra cautious in their search for a used vehicle. When buying a used vehicle, you want to be sure that you know what happened to the car in its time with its previous owners.
Make sure you do your research, and you are making sure the vehicle is not damaged from water damage before buying. There is no way to know how long it will be good if water has damaged your car. When it happens, cars are usually left sitting in high waters for days, and that can cause major damage to your used vehicle and internal components, particularly if these are not replaced or repaired correctly.
Water may leak into unnoticed areas of the car, and it is not necessarily easy to spot a repaired flood-damaged vehicle. Many other times, it is far more difficult to determine whether or not a car is in flood condition. You would think that a flood-damaged car would be easier to detect, with a little rust underneath the doors and mouldy carpeting inside, and it is true that this is the case on occasion.
After the storm, a lot of flood-damaged cars show up in the used-car buyers market thanks to unscrupulous used-car dealers and others trying to pass their used cars off as ones that did not have any flooding damage. Dishonest, unscrupulous car dealers purchase these vehicles, have them dried out, and have them cleaned, but still have plenty of hidden flood damage. Dishonest and unscrupulous car dealers then move the vehicles to states that were not affected by storms or disasters, and sell the vehicles to unsuspecting buyers as used cars.
If thousands of cars are insured, the insurance companies deal with the water-damaged vehicles by hiring businesses to auction off vehicles to dealers across the country. Once owners of damaged cars have settled with insurance companies, the vehicles are sometimes repaired and sold again.
You should be particularly cautious about vehicles sold with no title, as it is very likely they were damaged during the flood, but the owners do not have the proper insurance coverage to cover the costs of replacing the car. While cars that are damaged by a flood can be sold with titles indicating this, this system is not foolproof – meaning that some of these cars are probably being purchased by unsuspecting buyers.
The best way to avoid buying a car that has been damaged in a flood is to get the car checked out before you purchase it by a mechanic with expertise in auto electrical systems. Sometimes, it is hard to tell whether or not a vehicle is flood-damaged, so you should always get a trusted mechanic to check before buying. A pre-purchase inspection will identify the cars aesthetic, mechanical, and safety status, and it will tell you whether any water damage is present inside.
Consider purchasing the vehicles Motor Vehicle History Report, which includes information on whether a car has ever been listed as salvageable or damaged by flood waters in any state. Again, getting a Carfax vehicle history report goes a long way to verifying the vehicle you are purchasing is free from flood damage. While the chances are high the vehicle is just fine, do not discount the possibility that some or all of the carpeting or upholstery has been replaced in order to conceal the damage.
After checking out the inside and underneath the vehicle, take a walk through the car you are buying and look for signs of water in light fixtures. Look inside the trunk, glove box, and underneath the seats and dash for signs of dirt, rust, or water damage. Bubbles of paint in areas that are not exposed to the elements should be taken seriously; even if the vehicle you are buying is not flooded, you could be looking at significant rust damage, which can make a car not pass an inspection and unsafe to drive.
Even if a vehicle was not in a flood, water in engine oil can be a sign of significant mechanical damage. Many mechanical problems may arise from cars that are in floods, and floodwater-induced corrosion on the vehicle may take years to appear. It may take months to see the effects of saltwater damage, or floodwaters, so although a car might function perfectly on a test drive, down the road, it could have major problems.
This is important because although a car may look perfect from the outside, saltwater or water damage could cause long-term effects to a cars brakes, steering, and electrical systems. Before putting down any cash for your used vehicle, be sure you have done your homework and checked all of the areas to ensure that the vehicle is free of water damage. It is crucial to know that people may experience water damage, but they never report the damage to their insurance, but ratherfix it themselves and privately sell the vehicle. Problems can persist long after water is gone, and auto buyers need to know this and take steps to avoid buying water damaged cars.
While there is no absolutely foolproof method for avoiding a financially ruinous purchase of a flooded car with misrepresentations, buyers can take steps to ensure the vehicle they are purchasing meets the promises made by the seller.
News stories about flooding caused by the recent storms affecting multiple states could result in con artists trying to peddle flooded vehicles as stock used cars. Instead of enjoying your ride, you could be inherited problems such as a short-circuited Electronic Control Unit (ECU), ruined brake pads, waterlogged transmissions, corrosion in vehicle parts, or, at a minimum, dank carpeting and discolored upholstery.