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Buying a flood repaired titled car?

dandgdandg Posts: 86
edited May 7 in General

Anyone ever purchased a flood repaired title car ? Looking around and I see a few dealers that specialize in them and have been successfully selling them for many years.I am toying with a purchase (one had hydrolocked engine-rebuilt by factory tech and warrantied for 1 yr) and interested to see if anyone has considered it and how it worked out.

Answers

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,071

    @dandg said: Anyone ever purchased a flood repaired title car ? Looking around and I see a few dealers that specialize in them and have been successfully selling them for many years.I am toying with a purchase (one had hydrolocked engine-rebuilt by factory tech and warrantied for 1 yr) and interested to see if anyone has considered it and how it worked out.

    There are so many computers inside the cars and other delicate electronics in dashboards and radios that probably got soaked with water and contamination. And there's all the wiring for the windows, doors, seats, and other things that run through the cars where the connectors will be affected by the water and contamination that got to them. That's even worse if it's salt water. I would never touch one of those cars because of the continual problems that likely will show up later as those electronics are affected by damage done earlier.

    I just can't imagine buying a car with flood damage and doing that to myself.

    I recall a Cincinnati radio car repair guy who's a master technician owning his own multifaceted shop. He had a caller who was at the Grand Ol Opry hotel when the river flooded several years back in Nashville. The car started and ran but check lights were on and then off. The advice was to get rid of the car.

  • dandgdandg Posts: 86

    Thanks for the reply, like you I would have never thought of buying a car like that but there are several dealers that "rebuild" some of these flood titled cars and then sell them and they have been in business for years. The one I am considering had not water enter the cabin,damage was confined to the engine which was rebuilt by a factory tech. I am confident its fine now,however I would like hear from anyone who has purchased a car like this-repaired, and how it worked out years later, both good and bad.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,529

    Here are some good tips from an eBayer who seems to know what he's talking about.

    http://www.ebay.com/gds/Water-or-Flood-Damaged-Vehicles-/10000000001001371/g.html

    Note however, that even though he seems "careful but optimistic" that you can find a good car with prior flood damage, that this does not apply to any car submerged in salt water.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,626

    Don't even THINK about buying a "flooder" no matter how cheap it is.

    You will likely have continual problems the longer you keep it mostly electrical in nature.

  • dandgdandg Posts: 86

    @MrShift@Edmunds said: Here are some good tips from an eBayer who seems to know what he's talking about.

    http://www.ebay.com/gds/Water-or-Flood-Damaged-Vehicles-/10000000001001371/g.html

    Note however, that even though he seems "careful but optimistic" that you can find a good car with prior flood damage, that this does not apply to any car submerged in salt water. Thanks for the link,I found this part very interesting;

    "A vehicle that has suffered fresh water damage is a totally different thing. Often times the insurance companys will total a car without ever really researching the damage. This is because once they hear water damage they usualy will not pay to have the vehicle sent to dealer and dismantaled to see how extensive damage is. They do not want to pay for the labor of having the car dismantled when they are going to end up writing it off and paying the owner anyway in most cases. This is the situation where you can find excellent deals."

    While searching I have found a number of dealers-two that I have talked with that have been in business for many years that seem to have been successful at buying these cars from insurance companies and doing the RDI ,then repair.

    I know its not a market for every buyer but I have yet to hear from anyone who purchased a car from a reputable rebuild dealer that had a bad experience.

  • dandgdandg Posts: 86

    @isellhondas said: Don't even THINK about buying a "flooder" no matter how cheap it is.

    You will likely have continual problems the longer you keep it mostly electrical in nature.

    Legitimate concern-as I have had,however if the dealer has been in business for a long time( past customers would have complained), and been able to address any water inclusion in the system-in the car I am looking at it would have only been in the engine bay,it could reduce or eliminate that issue.

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    edited May 9

    There's lots of electronics in the engine bay too. Sometimes there's an airbag sensor in the front end, for example, not to mention all the wiring going to the engine controls.

    I've read similar arguments from people who buy salvage cars - basically wrecked cars that have been rebuilt, often from two wrecked cars. I'm sure lots of them work out fine, but there's always the nagging concern that something won't work "right" if you have a bad accident. Cars are cheap compared to hospital stays.

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  • dandgdandg Posts: 86
    edited May 9

    Thanks for the reply Steve, I am not real concerned about a sensor issue-two main reasons they are made for "outside" use and any issue would trigger a code,in the case of airbag ABS code.That area of the car-the engine bay is subject to water when driving and detailing.The car also has to go through a re-inspection process to be roadworthy.The one I am looking at has had no body damage just engine damage.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,626

    You asked and you got some opinions here but it kinda sounds like you've already made up your mind. I do wish you well. I suppose you could get lucky.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,529

    The price of the vehicle would have to justify the risk. Just remember; "Whatever gets you into a car cheap when you buy it, will come back to haunt you when you sell it".

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  • dandgdandg Posts: 86
    edited May 9

    Thanks for the additional comments,actually I was hoping to hear from people who had purchased one and what they thought.Understandability there are many who think it is not for them and no I have totally made up my mind.The car I am considering would be a weekend fun car convertible. There are some obvious down sides ,no bank finance-fine as I am cash buyer,no trade in-again fine I don't trade and yes it will never sell for as much as a non flood one but it also costs less going in-no payments for many buyers .

    I know its not for everyone-hence the discounted price but there is an active market,one dealer I spoke with does 400 cars a year-mostly late model low miles,another has everything up to and including Bently's. I don't think you can paint every salvage car with one brush. I did find this video interesting;

    Just to be clear, not suggesting it,not trying to talk anyone into it,just wondering if anyone had done it.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,529

    Ok. What the year make model, overall condition and mileage and what's the discounted price? At least we could tell you if the car is worth what they're asking.

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  • dandgdandg Posts: 86
    edited May 9

    I have a couple I am considering,not really concerned with ask price(and they are all over the place from a few thousand discounted to 1/2 of retail-do a internet search for rebuilt title cars you would be amazed how many dealers there are) and have a pretty good handle on what a non F Title would be-and would make an offer that I feel what it is worth.Unlike other cars I suspect each one would have different value depending on what was damaged,what insurance company sold it for and of course what was done to repair it-how much that dealer has in it.

    Any buyer will only know if its "worth it" after he has owned it for a number of years,if no problems came up then I would guess he would think it was.

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    edited May 9

    Not to sidetrack you, but I'm curious if the car has a "flood" (or salvage) kind of designation on the title (or is the title, pardon the pun, "washed")? The flood info should show up on a Carfax but not everyone pulls one of those.

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  • dandgdandg Posts: 86
    edited May 9

    My understanding is,at least with the ones I have called on,after the car has been repaired it must be inspected then a title is issued-in the one case it was a "F" Title (I think thats what was used by that DMV to differentiate it from a non salvage/flood title). No washing and both dealers stated that the law required they inform the buyer of that,these are the dealers that do this for many years-like I mentioned one had a 200k Bentley and other 6 figure cars, and legitimate business's.

    As far as I can tell everything is above board,there are just dealers who specialize in buying cars that they feel the insurance company totaled instead of paying to have in disassembled.

    I know its a bit out of the ordinary and not for everyone but there is a legitimate market that is able to arbitrage the insurance companies lack of interest in taking the risk.

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144

    I'm sure a lot of "restored" classic cars are bigger risks. There sure seem to be a lot of Ferraris cobbled together from two or three wrecked ones.

    There is something to be said for recycling such a vehicle instead of sending it to the crusher.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,529

    The market value really isn't based on the type of damage...if it's a Flood Title then the value is the same as any other similar car with a Flood title, regardless of "how" it was flooded.

    Now, the value TO YOU might be different if you know the exact nature of the damage, but to the market place, it doesn't matter as long as the car carries the F title.

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  • dandgdandg Posts: 86
    edited May 10

    My point was there is no "Blue Book" or "real comps" for market value on repaired salvage ("S" Title) or repaired Flood ("F" Title ) cars, the prices are all over the place-from a 2-3k less then,to 50% of a the same car without the repair.If you looks at the auctions that sell them the prices they bring are related to the amount of damage-hence the range of prices when repaired,and what was required to repair them.

    The market of course sets the sales price-willing buyer and will seller.

    Its a very interesting end of the car business that is not well researched ,from what I read 1.5 million ( of the 2.5 million totaled) are repaired and put back on the road.

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144

    Another thing I'm curious about is your ability to get insurance so you can drive the car around. Will the major insurance companies insure you or will you have to find a company that doesn't care or one that specializes in such cars?

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  • dandgdandg Posts: 86

    I called mine and they will insure it,including comprehensive-however I would just do liability as the pay off for comprehensive would not be the same as a non title issue car

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    edited May 10

    Thanks!

    Please keep us posted as you (maybe) do the deal. Looks like you are our only point of reference at this point, but maybe someone will stumble onto this thread from Google or Bing and add their comments.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,529

    That's correct. Insurance companies don't like to total the same car twice.

    I don't think it matters what it cost the dealer to repair the car--the price is still set by buyers.

    you are also correct that there is no standard "deduct" in price guides for Salvaged cars. Usually it's 30-50%. The only way to mitigate that is if you had lots of photos of the damage prior to the repair---this could possibly encourage the buyer to pay more.

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  • dandgdandg Posts: 86

    Thanks for the additional comments, Stever, thats kinda what I was hoping even if someone stumbles on to it later it might be a worthwhile thread. Mr Shift, I have seen some dealers say they have the "before",I agree that would be the best way to sell them later,especially after a salvage repair. I did find the before pic of one that was offered by using the VIN to search the auction sites,here is the car-not one I am considering,you can see how high the water was in the cab-again not one I am considering;

    http://selenaauto.com/index.php?pid=203&carId=860588&vin=WDBTK56FX9T110340&PHPSESSID=golo8gq241jgcs01a700avv6t4

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,626

    I finally watched the video and I have to say he did a good job of explaining the plusses and minuses of taking a chance on a flood car.

    I'm thinking most flood cars would be in worse shape than that Corolla.

    Just a gamble some would be willing to take!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,529

    These auctions have their hidden costs--you pay minimum $400 up front (a deposit, and more for any vehicle over $4000), then at least $400-$500 in auction fees, then of course sales tax, then towing, then 4% of sales price if you pay by credit card. So a $5000 car is sometimes a $7000 car.

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  • dandgdandg Posts: 86
    edited May 10

    Yes, there are added costs-the ones I attend (not cars- guns) add 15% -17% buyers premium,plus shipping costs-that car in the link ended up in VT,and risk of too much is needed. Glad you liked the video,isellhonda's,it does show a whole new area of a car market that I was unaware of.

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