Sidestep Flooded Autos

A Key Sign That You Have Bought a Lemon of a Car: You Can Only Go to Restaurants That Offer Valet Pushing

Various parts of the United States, including Texas and Florida, have suffered severe flooding this fall. Carfax estimates that as many as half of flood-damaged cars get cleaned up and moved around the country with no notation of flood damage. As a result, they can end up in the hands of unsuspecting consumers. Flooded automobiles are notoriously unreliable vehicles, and proactive steps should be taken to avoid purchasing one. Here are some tips for you to consider that will help you avoid unknowingly purchasing a flooded vehicle.


Perform a careful examination of the used vehicle. For example, look for a well-defined line or watermark on the inside and outside of the car. Inspect the vehicle in difficult-to-clean areas, like the gaps between panels in the truck or SUV, under the hood, and under the trunk liner, where water-borne materials and debris may still cling. 

Be wary of used cars with new or mismatched upholstery. Nonoriginal or mismatched headliners or trunk liners can also be hidden clues. 

Avoid purchasing cars through auctions because flooded vehicles are often cleaned and then sold at these events. 

Bypass individuals who buy and sell cars as a sideline business. It is better to buy from a reputable dealer or an individual that has owned and actually driven the vehicle for an extended period of time.

Review the auto title closely. Some jurisdictions require that totaled or flooded vehicles be designated as "flood damaged" on the title.

Consider ordering an online Carfax report, which provides unlimited vehicle history reports for $40.

Before you buy the vehicle, be sure to have a trusted mechanic inspect it. Trained professionals know what to look for when it comes to previous flood damage on autos. They can also spot vehicles that were previously involved in major collisions.


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