When serious storms or hurricanes result in local or regional flooding, the impact on the car market may be felt nationally. Cars that may have been totaled because of serious water damage in one state may end up on the seller’s block in another state. Sadly, due to unethical or criminal actions, there may be no mention that a vehicle was once waterlogged. A person looking at any used car must take steps to avoid buying a car that is nearly guaranteed to need serious repairs.
Flooded cars, normally, should only make their way into the used car market by, first, making it through a salvage auction after receiving either a salvage or flood title. After they are auctioned, they may receive a clean title after the buyers show proof that all needed repairs have been made. Such vehicles should also undergo thorough inspections before they are made available for sale.
Unfortunately, particularly after catastrophic storms, vehicles are often cleaned up by original owners or dishonest dealers and sold to auto auctioneers without information about the water damage. Such vehicles may face a laundry list of problems such as:
bacteria infestation (due to damp, hidden areas)
more rapid rusting and corrosion
electrical system damage
brake, brake pads damage
operating parts contamination (with dirt and other particulate matter)
corroded air bag controllers
It is critical to guard yourself against unwittingly buying a flood damaged vehicle. Please see part two of this article for tips on spotting such cars.
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