Ten Months After Sandy, Thousands Of Flood Damaged Vehicles Are Still On The Road
Hurricane Sandy hit the northeastern US last Octobers, but as many as 10 states may still be dealing with the problem of flood-damaged cars showing up for sale on used car lots across the region. Estimates place the number of flood-damaged cars at just over 250,000, with most of them in New Jersey, and history shows that about half of those cars will eventually be resold to new owners who are no doubt unaware of their history.
According to AAA, there are a number of ways by which to identify a car with flood damage:
- Check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) against the appropriate government agencies to determine if the vehicle has a questionable or salvage title.
- See if the windows are fogged up or if the upholstery has been shampooed recently.
- Pull up the carpet to look for signs of mud or dirt that most detailers would overlook when cleaning a car.
- Open all doors, the trunk, and the hood to check for corrosion, a clear sign of flood damage.
- Check electrical parts for signs of wear or damage, as well as for water lines in the engine compartment or trunk.
- Don’t neglect the flood-damaged practice of “going with your gut”. If a deal sounds too sweet to be true, it almost always is. Look elsewhere for a quality vehicle.
Right now there are about 200,000 flood-damaged vehicles on the road today, with most of their owners blissfully ignorant of what they have. Once a vehicle has been subjected to salt water and corrosion, mechanical, electrical, and safety issues can crop up at any time. Mold and bacteria can also get into the vents and upholstery of the car, which makes for a health hazard.
Unscrupulous sellers can hide much of this flood damage, and clean the vehicle’s title as well. It is a scam similar to that used on stolen vehicles.
Always do your homework and dig into the background of any car that you are looking to purchase, and do not hesitate to make an inspection by a mechanic of your choice part of the conditions of the sale.