Look Out for Flooded Cars on the Used-Car Market

Flooded cars

Spring rains in the United States have not been kind to cars.

The president has declared 11 counties in Texas disaster areas due to heavy rains and flooding. Similar flooding has spanned the country from Virginia to Washington. In Houston alone, about 40,000 vehicles were reported lost due to flood damage.

Typically the damaged cars are either scrapped, or repaired and then given salvage titles and resold. Sometimes, though, unscrupulous sellers take advantage of loopholes in the law and repair the vehicles, retitle them in a new state, and sell them as normal used cars.

The flood-damaged cars can either come as an opportunity for DIY folks who want a good deal, or as an unwelcome surprise for someone who purchases one unwittingly after failing to look for signs of water.

Even if a car looks good and seems to run fine, expensive problems can appear later as corrosion continues to creep inside critical components. Unfortunately, flood-damaged vehicles can be hard to spot, but looking for these signs can help.

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How to Deal with Sandy’s Devastating, Nationwide Effects on Cars

Cars flooded by Hurricane Sandy

Water enters a parking garage in New York City

The devastation of Hurricane Sandy is hard to witness. Lost lives and destroyed property put into perspective what is important in life, but they also force us to deal with the effects and consequences of natural disasters.

After we make sure people are safe and the basic infrastructure of our cities is up and running again, we’re eventually going to have to deal with lost and damaged vehicles. A lot of them.

The issue of flooded cars has been covered here before, but after this storm the problem needs to be addressed again. We don’t know how many vehicles were lost in the massive storm, but it’s safe to say more than we can even estimate right now will be totalled out by insurance companies. Unfortunately, many of these flooded cars will be shipped across the country and re-sold. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma damaged over 600,000 cars. Many of those still come up for sale today.

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