Potentially hundreds of thousands of flooded-vehicles impacted by the recent hurricanes could find themselves in used car lots.
Xander Swartz, manager of Cactus Auto, has no plans of buying hurricane-damaged cars anytime soon.
"Because the cars are so far away and two, it's just not worth passing that along to the customers. It's more of a headache for everyone involved,” Swartz said.
There’s always the possibility for consumers and dealerships to overlook a vehicle’s condition.
Swartz noted car history checks are critical but not always enough.
He also recommends people consult with a trusted mechanic to further assess the vehicle.
“It's something easy to do, it's something inexpensive to do before you make a major purchase,” Swartz said.
Thomas Royall, who works for used car dealer CarMax, noted the company also doesn’t take in storm-damaged vehicles.
He emphasized the importance of consumers to be able to identify the signs of a flood-inflicted vehicle.
Flooded cars rot from the inside, which can result in faulty mechanical and electrical systems.
"People will actually go through the cars, clean them up as best as they can and try to resell them. Hopefully that is something that is disclosed to the customer because it really should be something that the customer should have the choice in making a decision on whether they want to buy it or not,” Royall said.
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has the following tips on what to look for in possibly flooded cars.
1. Check a vehicle's title history using the National Insurance Crime Bureau's VinCheck, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System or a commercially available vehicle history report service, such as Experian or Carfax, etc. Reports may state whether a vehicle has been flood damaged.
2. Examine the interior and the engine compartment for evidence of water and grit from suspected submersion.
3. Check for recently shampooed carpeting.
4. Look under the carpeting for water residue or stain marks from evaporated water not related to air-conditioning pan leaks.
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