Avoiding Flood-Damaged Cars

Did You Know?

In the wake of major natural disasters like Hurricane Irma and Harvey, the used car market is often inundated with flood-damaged cars and trucks, many of which are cleaned and transported to other parts of the country to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.
The vehicle may look like it is in good condition from the outside, but moisture inside can have devastating effects that can lead to problems with:

• Electronics, such as engine controls or brake signals
• Dashboard rotting
• Airbags and safety sensors
• Interior upholstery, carpeting and roof
• To lessen your risk of buying a flood-damaged vehicle, take these buying guidelines into account:
• Check the title history of the vehicle.
• Inspect the wiring system.
• Inspect the interior and engine compartment for any evidence of water.
• Be wary of a vehicle that was recently shampooed.
• Look for water residue or stains from evaporated water under the floorboard carpet.
• Look for rust on the inside of the vehicle and under the carpeting. Inspect the upholstery for fading.
• Look out for musty smells in the inside of the vehicle and in the trunk.
• Check for rust on screws in the console area where water would not normally reach.

Safety First
Unlike the purchase of a new vehicle, most states’ lemon laws do not apply for purchases of used vehicles. In addition, many states do not require a grace period on used purchases as well. Therefore, you must thoroughly inspect a used car or truck before deciding to hand over your money and sign on the dotted line.