Don’t Get Scammed Into Buying a Flood-Damaged Car

Looking to buy a used car in Dallas? Not sure about its history? Don’t get scammed into buying a flood-damaged car. Look deeper, and don’t just take a car at face value by using the following tips when checking out potential cars.

Run a Complete Car History Check

flood damage - Auto USA

Image via Flickr by Rlh

If you’ve found a car that you like, then one of the best things you can do is to run a full audit of the car’s history. Yes, it’s laborious but it can save you thousands of dollars down the line. There are free tools you can use such as the database of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Another free option you can use is VehicleHistory. The data you obtain after running these checks will give you information on the car’s condition whether it has been stolen, or has been marked as salvageable or is coming from a hurricane hit area.

Inspect the Interior

A lot of cars post-flood are taken to salvaging yards. Here one of two things happens. Either the car is sold for scrap metal and taken apart, or it’s cleaned up and some shady dealers buy it in the hopes of making a quick sale. Before buying any car, have a look at the interior. Inspect the floor mats, the carpets, and the upholstery carefully. Do you see a watermark?  Does the interior smell moldy? Does the carpet look new or too ill-fitting? This could mean that either the old carpet has been replaced, or that the old carpet was removed so it could be cleaned before being re-inserted into the car.

Inspect Under the Dash

Many car salvaging yards will aim to do as good a job as any when cleaning flood-damaged cars. They’ll replace upholstery, clean carpets, try to eliminate the mildew smell and dry out any remaining moisture. However, there is one particular area of the car that is almost always neglected when it comes to cleaning because most buyers hardly ever look there. And that’s underneath the dash. A dash is a giveaway place. You’ll be able to see whether a car was in a flood just by looking there. You’ll more than likely find mud, rusting wires, and sometimes even moisture.

Test Car Systems

Check the radio, the windshield wipers, sound system, lights, turn signals, heater and air conditioner. Run everything a couple of times to see if they function. If not ask why they don’t work. Why should you drive off a car lot with a car that doesn’t work half of the functions?

Check Airbags

This is one of the most important aspects to check and here’s why. The airbags contain propellants which when they react with water can result in the propellant’s breakdown. This, in turn, causes shrapnel to be deployed when the airbag inflates. Obviously, this is a very serious issue and can lead to your demise in the event that the airbag deploys. So do make sure you check the airbags of the car you’re interested in. If you still want to buy a flood-damaged car, at least make sure that the airbags have been replaced.

Be Smart – Use These Tips!

These five tips are guaranteed to help you avoid getting scammed. We hope you keep them in mind when considering any potential cars.