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How To Avoid Buying a Flood-Damaged Car

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited September 2017 in Editorial
imageHow To Avoid Buying a Flood-Damaged Car

Flood-damaged cars are flooding the market after recent hurricanes. Here are some tips to help you spot vehicle flood damage before you buy.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • Great article. Craigslist is a huge seller of cars too and a good resource is Scams on Craigslist, it's a forum where car scams on craigslist are updated real time.
  • I wish I'd seen an article like this 4 years ago. I bought a used car that SEEMED to be in decent shape from a buy-here-pay-here lot(I know, mistake #1 but I had terrible credit back then & had no other options since my previous car had been totaled) that had every symptom listed in this article. I wish I'd have known what they meant before I bought it! 20 minutes after I drove it off the lot, the engine light came on. So I took it back, they sent it to a mechanic, and it had a burned valve. At 74k miles. Unusual. Also unusual was the fact that the title had the mileage at 85k(they must have replaced the cluster, but why?). Even more unusual was the corroded electrical connectors, rusted interior bolts, musty smell, dirty vents, and stained carpeting(which had a visible line of demarcation a few inches below the edge of the back seat cushion). I also noticed later on that it had an aftermarket paint job too, evidenced by little runs & drips on the bumpers. I was pretty green to car ownership at that time, but it hit me after a few days that this car had clearly been in a flood, despite the dealership insisting that they don't sell flood vehicles. I was so livid. They wouldn't take the car back though, they denied the flood evidence & insisted on fixing the burned valve so I was without a car(albeit a crappy one) for about 3 weeks. When I got it back it chugged like a tractor & still ran like crap, so I just quit paying on it & waited for them to repo it. I won't even buy used cars anymore thanks to that nightmare.
  • The big problem is not with salvage title cars. Their history stays with the car even if the title is "washed". The big problem is with private cars that were flooded but didn't have insurance to cover the flood damage. Those cars are cleaned up and resold by their owners because they have no other way to get rid of their problem car. Beware of the private sale in an area that recently flooded.
  • NukediNukedi Posts: 1
    edited October 16
    Check the most obvious things for tell-tale signs. Look at the owners manual. How are the pages? Do they look like they had been wet?
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