How to Avoid Flood Damaged Used Cars
by Pat Goss
It’s time to buy a replacement car and you do all of your homework. You check the magazines, the newspapers, the Internet and so on and there’s one automobile that really stands out. It’s what you’re looking for, the price is too good to be true, and there’s your key. Might be like this particular car. Window sticker is still on it but believe it or not, it is a totaled car even though it still looks new. It is a flood car and there are tens of thousands of them floating around.
Now what can you do to determine if you might be looking at a flood car because of that low price. Well one of the things that you’ll want, is you want a mechanic’s mirror. There are different types of them. Some are not lighted, some have lamps built in. You can adjust them to different angles to see under things. What are you going to look under? You’re going to look under the dash, you’re going to look under the seats, you’re going to look in all the places that people normally wouldn’t look because those are also the places that the crooks normally don’t clean these cars.
All right, we’ve taken the seat on this one, we’ve removed it and as you can see on the bottom of it, it’s coated with rust. Also if you look inside the car, you’d see on the seat tracks, on the rails and hardware and everything in there that there is still silt and there’s rust on those items as well.
Now this particular flood car, it had a good ending. It was donated to a vocational school, community college, so it will come to good service. But most of them don’t. Most of them are misrepresented, and you wind up with the bad aspects of these cars.
Now, why do you worry about it? Well a number of reasons - number one, carpeting and upholstery and so on might have mold and mildew which is hazardous and of course, things like wire harnesses that corrode and that will be an on-going problem throughout the life of the vehicle.
Now a couple of things that you can do in addition to the business with the mirrors. You know they deodorize these cars but if you spray some water, just plain water onto the carpeting, pick a couple of different spots, take a hairdryer and heat that area slightly and what will happen is, if it’s a flood car, usually the odor will come back, it will smell muddy.
And finally, Car Facts Report. And the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), run reports on the car and see if shows up as a flood or totaled or salvaged vehicle. Good protections.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.