Buying a used vehicle is always risky. Even if it’s certified, inspected and under warranty there’s no telling how the previous owner (or owners) treated it. In addition to lackadaisical maintenance water damage is a major issue to be concerned with as well.
According to the folks at Carfax there are more than 212,000 flood-ravaged vehicles on America’s roads today. Hurricanes and tropical storms are responsible for saturating thousands of otherwise good cars.
More than two-thirds of these vehicles are found in just 10 states, with Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Louisiana taking the top five places. Check out the accompanying infographic for more.
Hurricane Katrina that battered America’s Gulf Coast back in 2005 devastated more than 600,000 vehicles. Ivan, which hit the year before claimed some 100,000, while Superstorm Sandy ruined more than a quarter-million cars, trucks and utility vehicles on America’s east coast.
What can you do to avoid purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle? There are a few simple things to look out for that could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
According to the folks at Carfax, reach under the dashboard and flex some of the wires. Supposedly when waterlogged cables eventually dry out they become brittle and crack. Also, don’t be afraid to take the car to a qualified mechanic for a thorough inspection. An expert’s trained eye can head off countless problems. Additionally see if it passes the “sniff test.” Smell the vehicle’s interior and pay attention for foul or otherwise musty odors, which are dead giveaways that the car has been soaked inside.
Lastly you can always get a free flood-damage report by visiting flood.carfax.com.