As Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc across the Carolinas, the enormous process of cleaning up began immediately after the storm. One of the property victims from the hurricane were automobiles. “Tens of thousands of automobiles were flooded and water-damaged across the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida,” said Thomas Bumgardner, attorney. “These cars may be making their way onto automobile lots across the region and all buyers should be aware of purchasing previously flooded cars.”
Buyers On Alert for Flooded Cars
There are some steps that you can take to become more aware of potentially purchasing a car that has been flooded or water-damaged.
- Insurance claims don’t always stop flooded cars from being resold. “Usually flood-damaged cars are sent to auto recycling lots after the insurance claims are settled,” added Bumgardner. “But there are people that want to scam others by pushing these cars into an illegal position in the market place.”
- You can spot flood-damaged cars. “Good advice is to obtain a vehicle history report like the ones from CARFAX,” said Bumgardner. “This can help you spot a car that has previous flood or water damage and help to minimize your risk of buying a lemon.”
- Use your nose to sniff out a problem car. If you are looking in the trunk or inside the car and there is a heavy odor of cleaning agents, it could be covering up a mold or mildew problem.
- Lift up and open up. Do yourself a favor and lift up the carpeting on the car’s flooring. Does it feel damp to you? Can you spot moisture or mold spots? Also open up the glove compartment and storage places to check the same thing.
- Take the car to an independent mechanic. If the seller allows you, take the car to a mechanic you trust and let them inspect all of the electronics and motor components. If the seller will not allow you to do this, move on to another car or dealer.
“As you can imagine, flooded cars are extremely prone to rust and corrosion from salt water,” says Bumgardner. “And engine computers, electrical components and smart car technologies are very expensive to repair and to replace.”
If you feel that you have been taken advantage of by being sold a flooded vehicle in Mecklenburg County, please contact Thomas Bumgardner at 704-887-4981 or fill out our contact form here.