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Shoppers should keep an eye out for water-damaged vehicles

Posted on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 5:18:00 PM

Buying a used car is a great way to get a vehicle on a budget, but you should always do your homework before you complete a transaction. Because used cars may come in less-than-perfect condition, you may run into some issues later on down the road if you aren't careful. 

Countless vehicles along the East Coast were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. In fact, according to Carfax, there were more cars destroyed by Hurricane Sandy than Hurricane Katrina. More than 640,00 vehicles were damaged by Katrina, so Sandy's final tally is expected to be significant.

"Carfax already receives information about flood damaged vehicles from every state impacted by Hurricane Sandy," says Carfax communications director Larry Gamache. "Information about flood damage is reported to Carfax directly from every state DMV, as well as insurance companies, law enforcement organizations, repair facilities, and many other sources."

As a result, many of these water-damaged vehicles could flood the market in the coming months. Buying one of these cars could have serious consequences to your wallet, even if you have auto financing.

Do water-damaged vehicles pose any risks?
There's an array of issues than can stem from water damaged. Most notable perhaps, the the effect it has on the electrical systems of a vehicle.

Water damage can cause wires to corrode and short circuit entire systems ranging from navigation to the headlights. In addition, if any water gets into those hard to reach places, it could cause the interior of the vehicle to mold. Because certain types of mold can be damaging to your health, this is a serious concern.

How to spot water damage  
There are a number of ways to determine if a car has endured water damage. The best way is to request a copy of the vehicle's history. If a previous owner made an insurance after water damage, this information should appear. While it may cost a fee to obtain this document, it could be a worthwhile investment.

However, if you don't have access to this information, you eyes are the next best thing. If you notice any rust on parts of the car's interior, this could be a sign the area was once under water. 

If the seller has an excuse for the presence of rust, don't take their word for it. Instead, have the vehicle looked over by a mechanic who is used to dealing with used cars. They should be able to give you an informed opinion on the matter.ADNFCR-16001052-ID-800901798-ADNFCR