Buyers Warned To Look Out For Flood Damaged Cars Hitting Used Market


Consumers are being warned that many vehicles damaged by Hurricane Ian are likely to hit the used car market.

Carfax has revealed that some 378,000 flooded cars were back on U.S. roads in 2021 and that buyers who don’t live in storm areas must remain vigilant. This is because vehicles damaged in floods are often transported to different states.

Consumer Reports notes that insurance companies often fail to inform potential futures if a vehicle has been damaged in a flood. For the most part, flood-damaged vehicles are supposed to get a salvage title and often end up at salvage auctions and junkyards. They can be repaired and resold if the damage is disclosed in the title and if repaired appropriately, can receive a rebuilt title.

Read Also: A Large Number Of Waterlogged EVs In Florida Could Erupt Into Flames After Hurricane Ian

However, there are instances where flood-damaged vehicles are repaired and issued with clean titles in states with lax regulations. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is a particularly useful tool for researching the background of a vehicle. Carfax also offers a free flood damage check alongside its history reports.

Even running a background search isn’t a foolproof way of determining whether a vehicle has flood damage and that’s where inspections are particularly important. There are a handful of things that consumers can look out for in determining if a vehicle has been damaged in a flood.

For example, it is important to inspect the carpets as they may have signs of being waterlogged, such as smelling bad or having caked-on mud. It is also worth checking the seat-mounting screws to see if they have been removed, inspecting the lights for any visible waterlines, looking in hard-to-clean places for mud and debris, analyzing the bottom edges of brackets or panels, looking at the heads of unpainted screws for signs of rust, and to see if drain plugs under the car and on the bottom of the doors have been removed recently to drain floodwater.


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