Buyer beware: Bargain vehicles may have flood damage

June 06, 2019 - 7:55 am

Whenever major floods occur, people who are in the market for vehicles need to be especially vigilant to make sure sellers are not taking advantage of them.

It can be tempting for individuals and unscrupulous dealerships to sell 'flood cars' at a discount without divulging that the vehicle was once partially submerged in water.

Ryan Falco sells salvage vehicles at Midway Auto. He said they have developed a system to classify flood damage in vehicles.

"A Level One would just be in the floorboards," Falco said. "Water got in the car. It could be up to the bottom of the seats; that would be a Level Two."

Flood cars can be useful to the few people who know to fix the damage. Water can ruin electronic components, cause rust in the body and undercarriage and spoil engines, air intakes and fuel delivery systems.

Mechanics at Midway Auto perform thorough checks to make sure cars operate before they sell them, Falco said.

"We will get it 100 percent dry, making sure we get all of the moisure out of the car," Falco said. "When we pull the interior, that allows us to look at electrical connections, making sure everything is up to snuff, so we can get it back to the way it was before the water damage happened."

It is a good idea to check the Car Fax report and have a mechanic check out any vehicle that may have been damaged by water.

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