Flood-damaged cars are flooding the market
A new and somewhat startling report by CarFax shows what I have warned about for some time now: Flooded cars are showing up.
According to CarFax, nearly half-a-million flood cars are back on the road nationwide, as more than 150,000 resurfaced over the past year, since Hurricane Harvey. Flooded cars rot from the inside out, likely causing safety, health and financial problems for unsuspecting buyers of these waterlogged wrecks. There are flooded cars on the road or possibly up for sale in every state. CarFax also states:
478,000 flooded vehicles on the road is a 47 percent spike from 2017, when Harvey and Irma hit the U.S.
Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Louisiana have the most flooded cars back in use; Houston, New York City, Miami, Philadelphia and Dallas are the top metro areas.
Check your VIN free
For a limited time, CarFax is offering free checks to see if your vehicle has had any flood damage reported. The offer will not cover other previous damage, mileage discrepancies, etc. If you have purchased a pre-owned vehicle in the last few years, I would recommend you go to www.Carfax.com/flood and enter your 17-digit VIN.
Here are 10 tips to help you avoid buying one of these cars down the road:
Check for a moldy smell inside the car and feel the carpet for dampness.
Ask questions about an older car with a brand new interior or carpeting.
Check for rust under the brake or gas pedals.
Look for dirt or rust under the dashboard and floor mats.
Inspect the bolts and screws under the seats for evidence of rust.
Check the undercarriage for excessive rust.
Check inside the trunk under the carpet in the spare tire well area for rust, dirt or sand.
Look for corrosion, watermarks, or a thin brown line on the exterior of the vehicle.
Check to see if the electrical system works.
Check the VIN number with AutoCheck or Carfax to see whether a flood claim has been filed or a salvage title has been issued on the vehicle. Along with the financial and legal hassles that can go along with buying an improperly registered vehicle, flood-damaged cars present several potential safety and health hazards to passengers including faulty electrical systems that can lead to stalling and fires, as well as persistent mold and bacteria infestation.
Jerry Reynolds is an auto industry expert and the host of nationally syndicated Car Pro Show heard Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on News Radio KTRH 740 AM, and Sports/Radio 610 KILT AM, Saturday 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and online at www.CarProUSA.com.