Flooding and hurricanes are a fact of life in the United States, leaving thousands of ruined cars in their wake. Unethical individuals will often try to capitalize on this situation. Unwary consumers may inadvertently purchase a seemingly fine used car, but with hidden water damage lurking be-neath its surface. Flooded automobiles are notoriously unreliable vehicles and proactive steps should be taken to avoid purchasing one. Here are some tips for you to consider that will help you avoid unknowingly purchasing a flooded vehicle.
● Perform a careful examination of the used vehicle. For example, look for a well-defined line or watermark on the inside and outside of the car. Inspect the vehicle in difficult-to-clean areas, like the gaps between panels in the truck or SUV and under the hood, where water-borne materials and debris may still cling.
● Be wary of used cars with new or mismatched upholstery.
● Avoid purchasing cars through auctions because flooded vehicles are often cleaned and then sold at these events.
● Be wary of individuals who buy and sell cars as a sideline business. It is better to buy from a reputable dealer or an individual that has owned and actually driven the vehicle for an extended period of time.
● Review the auto title closely. Some jurisdictions require that totaled or flooded vehicles be designated as “flood damaged” on the title.
● Consider ordering an online vehicle history report (e.g., CARFAX), which provides un-limited vehicle history reports for $25.
● Before you buy the vehicle, be sure to have a trusted mechanic inspect it. Trained profes-sionals know what to look for when it comes to previous flood damage on autos. They can also spot vehicles that were previously involved in major collisions.
Source: International Risk Management Institute, Inc.