It is amazing in these modern times with modern transportation and communication. In the middle of winter flood damaged cars that appear 100 % fine appear on the market in your home town in the Midwest or even Alaska. How can you as an unsuspecting novice car or truck buyer sniff out these vehicle ?
Many cars have been damaged because of disasters for example tropical storms and hurricanes but water damage isn't limited solely and exclusively to these. Coastal areas are known for being badly affected by tropical storms and hurricanes. However, there are other ways for a car to become ruined due to flooding. Thunderstorms and heavy rains cause some rivers to swell. When this happens, cars in nearby areas become prone to water damage. Don't assume that the sales of these destroyed vehicles are limited only in their respective localities. With a bit of cosmetic repair, these vehicles can be moved to as far as Canada. It just takes a bit of luck and patience to find an unsuspecting buyer. It must be restated that auto industry analysts disapprove of purchasing vehicles that have endured water damage. These are only some of the few situations that can cause great damage and damages to cars, trucks Sport Utility and other vehicles.
If you are considering the purchase of a previously owned vehicle, be meticulous with your finds. Ideally, sellers should inform a potential buyer about a car's history but that would be difficult since people don't want to buy cars that have been damaged by flood. Although this is the case, many vehicles of this type find their way into the market. That is why it becomes more and more necessary for buyers to research on the vehicle that they like. It is equally important to have a trusted repair technician to inspect it for you. Do not think that only areas that have been affected by floods are the ones that have flood-damaged vehicles in their local markets. This isn't the case. Across the country, these vehicles receive cosmetic touch-ups and repairs. Yet it is as easy as a 1,2,3 search online for a car report online. Simply Google "auto research reports","check out vehicle online" or "automobile reports online ", or alternatively Google "How to buy a used vehicle". There are no shortage of tips and services. Even ebay allows for a good service , at inexpensive costs to check out and verify any vehicle that catches your fancy. As a first step there should be a big check mark next to the column "checked for flood damage" .
If you see no check mark or a big red mark - then beware. eBay as well offers the services of recommended automotive inspection services on site. Lastly you can check with your local AAA auto club as to services to either check the VIN or provide on site mechanical and auto body inspections for a fee. As a precaution, do not pay the seller until the car has been examined by a qualified auto repair facility.
Following are some basic as well as fairly simple checks that you can also do on your own. Rust is a telltale sign of water damage. It is the enclosed areas that often water has sat for extended time periods and left its mark.Take out the spare tire in the trunk and look for more than normally apparent rust residue on the trunk metal underside of the donut tire temporary spare. Open up or peer into to some of the less conventional pockets or storage areas. For example the toll pass change holder, an open and closing coffee holder canister area, map compartments or a large console on trucks between the seats.
Enclosed water - dirty flood waters - may of been left in these areas for and extended period of time , evaporating and leaving residue of dirt and grime as well as discoloring the sides or bottom of the enclosed compartment or compartments. Even if the auto detailer and cleaner is thorough in their cleaning process and steam cleaning , they may either forget or forgo these areas as "no-one will look there" . Alternatively it may be just too much work to paint these areas without leaving tell tale paint on the fabric or take a risk of solvent damaging the plastic surface or factory finish. Leave well enough alone can be the adage that leaves vital tips to you or your inspection technician. The flooring under the seats must be inspected for water damage as well. Lastly, if the seller doesn't provide you with a vehicle history report, it's possible to obtain on your own. Jot down the 17-digit VIN or vehicle identification number. It's placed on the dashboard. Hidden problems which include flood titles, are revealed through CARFAX vehicle history reports
There was a case widely reported in the Wall Street Journal newspaper , a tale of woe, where a woman in Bolivia saved for years for her dream car of an Austin ( or now BMW) mini so nice it was beyond her wildest expectations.
The auto was bought, shipped to Bolivia with all paperwork and assurances. It was only after the car arrived and was uncrated did the truth emerge. The buyer was left with little more than a parts car. On top of that she had paid all kinds of import duties and taxes for a luxury vehicle as well as import custom agent services brokerage fees. A lesson learned the hard way. It is both amazing how carefully vehicles from a major flood , tsunami or hurricane can be carefully and meticulously "restored" to almost new condition. Vehicles written off by auto insurance companies that fish would not swim in once finished , detailed and polished up appear as premium low mileage vehicles in better than new car showroom condition. Also be wary that a number of salvaged cars may be combined into one single solitary vehicle. The world knows no end to this chicanery. A non flood damaged salvage vehicle may be purchased say in the midwest or Alaska , its VIN number magically applied to a close to identical model of a flooded vehicle auto insurance write off. Its a matter of attention to detail when inspecting a vehicle for purchase. If you or your mechanic has a nose - you , he or she may notice anomalies. Moisture can have all kinds of effects. Colors may be off on upholstery even after thorough and solid steam cleaning.
It may be on the dash , it may be on the floors, it may even be on the seat belts that colours , scent or a mildew odor ( even slight and even with new car spray ) resides in the background ever so slightly. When these have been replaced, check if they match interior of the vehicle. If the fit is a bit loose, chances are, it is due to replacement.
Sources of light can give you clues. Some vehicles have gauges on the dash board. Others have warning or "idiot" lights. Regardless of the type of dash instruments water plays big havoc with wiring and circuit boards in a vehicle , or even a boat. The lights and gauges should light up and reset themselves when you start up the vehicle. Its a self test feature. If the lights do not light up , come on or remain lit and on after an extended period be suspicious. Don't take any coy answers to explain away and suspicions. Remember all in all you have the right and rights as a buyer to walk off the lot or garage and away from the deal. Don't be high pressured into anything experienced auto analyst Edmonton based M Labovitch notes. Moe Brown sure learned his lesson. These must also be in working condition. ABS fairly electronically complex anti lock braking system. Its a most amazing thing - how much time , money and expense can be expended to fix what seem to be little electronic defects and problems. Sure a good electrical auto shop can diagnose the problem or problems. Yet everything is a struggle and takes an extraordinary amount of time , patience and skill and of course myriads of shop time and expensive auto electronic diagnostic technician's highly billed hours . What might appear to be a simple broken speedometer cable may well necessitate a major and full electric automotive harness system costing many thousands of dollars. Incorporate the costs of such diagnostics and repairs into any offer you may in the transaction , negotiation and sales process. You don't have to feel like Herman Munster at the used car lot talking to Frank Gorshin , with tent and a caravan trailer for an office. In this day and age with the world wide web , there are plenty of resources available. With the VIN number ( vehicle identification number) , a home computer and a credit card there are no shortage of reputable services online to quickly as well as thoroughly research your auto find and rule out flood damage and damages. When you turn the ignition key, notice if the warning and accessory lights come on or not. Check if these are working properly. Another set of lights that must come on are the ABS and airbag lights. Interior and exterior lights must all be tested. These include: turn/ signal lights, heater, radio, cigarette lighter and air conditioner. Test them several times to ensure that there aren't any problems with them. Don't forget to test the windshield wipers as well: signal lights, windshield wipers, air conditioner, cigarette lighter, radio and heater.
Try to bend some of the wires locate under the dashboard. After the wet wires have dried up thoroughly, often they tend to be weaker and more brittle. Before you decide to hand over the payment to a seller, get the car inspected first by an approved auto repair facility. There are also some ways which can help you check for water damage. Observe certain parts like the dashboard, glove compartment and trunk for any indication of water damage in the form of mud, silt and rust. Check for the presence of these beneath the flooring positioned under the seats. An additional sign that can be observed is the smell of mildew. A musty odor is evidence of this as well.
Request for a history report from the seller but if he or she refuses to give you one, use the car's identification number instead. This is the 17-digit VIN or vehicle identification number which is located on the dashboard. Take note of it and verify the vehicle's history on your own. Through the CARFAX reports, hidden problems that the car previously had can be revealed.