It is estimated that half a million cars ended up underwater because of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. When you factor in Irma’s damage too, the number of cars flooded will be more likely a million. There is a good possibility that some of these cars are headed to a used car lot near you, meaning you could be potentially test-driving and buying a flood vehicle. We saw a similar situation happen right after Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.
Beware of buying vehicles located in areas hit by hurricanes. Those underwater automobiles could sink your finances as they flood the used car market in the months after any HurricaneClick to tweet
The problem with buying flood vehicles is that they hide their damage well in the beginning. It takes time for them to showcase their quirks. If the car sat in saltwater, the frame is eventually going to rust much faster than those not exposed to salt. With so many electrical components these days, cars are like your phones—mini-computers. We all know what happens to cell phones submerged in water. They rarely bode well.
So what can you do to keep from falling prey to a car price that may seem too good to be true? Some very skilled scammers could take the salvaged title and make it look as good as new in states with lax titling laws. Pull the CarFax. Use the VIN to gather as much information about the automobile as possible. Know what you are buying before you ever buy it.
Examine cars for signs of water damage. Does the car have a moldy or mildewy smell to it? Perhaps it even has an overpowering odor of cleaning supplies. I have some friends that were looking to purchase a used high-end luxury SUV that experienced this very thing. Not only did the car reek of cleaning solutions, but its price was about $10k less than other vehicles with comparable specs. Smells, abnormally low price, and many other signs are HUGE red flags that you might be buying a future lemon. Pay attention to these clues. These are likely signs that you will want to pass on purchasing that car.
Look, I’m a huge proponent of buying used cars! I don’t buy new. However, you need to beware of buying vehicles located in areas hit by hurricanes. Those underwater automobiles could sink your finances as they flood the used car market in the months after any Hurricane.