Hurricane Florence was one of the worst storms to hit the Carolinas in years. The coastal region experienced large amounts of flooding, and as a result many cars were terminally damaged in the process. Unfortunately, flood cars are the automobile version of Frankenstein‘s Monster — they commonly are refurbished and put back out on the street, despite being unsafe and needing to be in a car graveyard. You plan on being in the used car market in the upcoming weeks, be aware of the potential of buying a flooded car and know the signs and symptoms to look for.
1. Salvage Titles.
Salvage Titles are a great way to find flood vehicles, but it is flawed system. Any car effected by a flood is considered a total loss, and any that go back out on the road wind up with a salvage title… that is, if it was reported in the first place. While many auto owners will do what is right and report to their insurance companies, many will attempt to hide any damage on the vehicle and resell it as if the vehicle was never involved. Remember, a clean title does not necessarily mean a clean car.
2. Your Senses are Your Friends.
While some may go above and beyond to hide flood damage, shoddy jobs are easy to detect with your eyes and nose. Does the car smell moldy? Does the car smell like a air–freshener–bomb went off inside, like they‘re trying to hide a smell? Does the carpet have stains that don‘t look like a drink spill? Are there stains on the roof? Have the rugs been recently replaced? Do electronics not work? If your answer to questions like these is “yes” you should probably run.
3. Deals so Good, They‘re Fishy.
Check and see what cars are going for in your area with national evaluators. For example, a base–level 2013 Toyota Camry LE with 80,000 miles is currently worth $7,000–8,000 in “Good” condition According to Kelly Blue Book. If you see one that hit the used car circuit after mid–September and it only costs $4,000, you‘ve probably got a flood car.
4. You Aren‘t in the Clear because you live in Mint Hill
The easiest place to sell flooded vehicles is in a place that did not flood. While Mint Hill did receive an average of about 9.5 inches of rain during Florence, our weather was considerably less violent than that which hit the coast. Due to the fact that we had minimal to no flooding, used car sellers may attempt to pedal cars in our area — after all, why would we expect to be buying flooded cars if we didn‘t get flooded?
5. Flood Damage isn‘t Just in the Cabin
If a car in a flooded area didn‘t have damage to the cabin, many sellers think they‘re in the clear. However, flooding does just as much damage to frames and engines as it does to interiors, and that‘s where the real danger lies. Flooded engines commonly act like lemons (If you missed our article about those, head over to www.autorepairminthill.com to catch up!) and cars with frame rust are extremely deadly in crashes. Take a peek under the hood at the engine and look under the vehicle at the frame. If you see any rust, run.
Like with any list, we have not covered every possible sign of flood damage, so be sure to check the news for ways to find flood cars that may not have been covered in our article. Most importantly, stay safe! If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 704-545-4597, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us a message on Facebook at facebook.com/ManchesterAutoandTireOfMintHill.