1/29/2013 11:41 PM

How to Avoid Buying a Flooded Vehicle

Flood-damaged vehicles have been one of the issues for used car buyers to avoid.  These damaged vehicles may be cleaned, dried out, and offered for sale in another area. Buyers must know what to avoid when it comes to flood-damaged vehicles.  Flood -damaged vehicles are not ideal for purchase for several reasons.  The engine, fuel, transmission, brakes, and other vital control systems may be damaged.  Although the interior of the vehicle may be dry on the surface, moisture deep down in the seats can cause rotting.

Potential damaged to flooded vehicles can show up in:
~The vehicle’s electronics, including engine controls and brake signals.
~Dashboards.
~Airbags and sensors.
~Interior carpet, upholstery and roof.
~Components that are rusted and corroded, including breaks and suspension systems.

A car or truck doesn’t need to be obviously affected by water damage to have problems.  Flooding can take months or years to have an effect, leaving buyers with a hefty price tag when the damage appears. Anytime you are buying a new or used car, you should give it a thorough check and complete test drive. Buyers of used cars must be especially cautious of flood-damaged vehicles. There are good resources to help you avoid buying such vehicles such as checking the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You may also consider a check from a trusted mechanic. 

There are also some signs of flooding that you can easily check for:
~Signs of mud or silt on the exterior, including wheel wells.
~Signs of mud, silt, water or moisture on the interior, including glove box and dashboard.
~Signs of mud silt, or a water line on the interior of the trunk or engine compartment.
~Moisture or water line in signal lamps.
~Sellers who are reluctant to let you see the engine, trunk, or any part of the vehicle.

While most states offer Lemon Law protection to buyers of new vehicles, there are rarely such assurances with a used vehicle.  Some states do not require any grace period with used car purchases. This highlights the need to thoroughly inspect any vehicle you may consider prior to purchase. If you feel you have purchased a vehicle that was damaged from flooding, and the seller did not disclose this fact to you, you may consider contacting an attorney.


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