If ever there was a buyer’s beware situation for those looking for a vehicle, it is now. After a big storm like Hurricane Ian, vehicles that were flooded will show up for sale on car lots everywhere.
“Shame on those dealers! We would never buy a car that’s been flooded in the first place. That’s why finding an established, reputable dealer is key,” said Ray Dellecese, who with his wife Sue has owned and operated Cottage. Street Motors in New Bedford for the last 25 years.
Before Ian, Carfax said there are more than 400,000 cars on the road that have flood damage. Dellecese explained how they stay on track.
“Insurance companies take all the flooded cars, put them in a pool and condemn them with a salvage title. Then the vehicles could be sold at auction for a good price,” he said. “That’s why the most important thing you can do is take your car to a trusted mechanic to have it inspected. Yes, this may cost a few dollars, but it will save you thousands of dollars in the long run if your car was damaged by a flood”. .”
“If there’s water damage, that information is supposed to be noted, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case,” Dellecese said.
What are some telltale signs that the car was flooded?
“One of the easiest ways is to use your nose, but first, close all the doors, roll up the windows and wait a few minutes. Then if it smells musty or moldy, that’s a red flag,” Dellecese said. “Look for moisture in the lights and instrument panel. Take the seat belt all the way out and look for sand. Same for the glove box and look for signs of mud. Look around the doors for rust.”
According to CarFax, there was exasperation over the number of flood-damaged cars inundating used car lots, especially after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
Vehicles damaged by water from Hurricane Ian will soon be sold to consumers who have no idea they are buying damaged goods. Buyer please note.
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