It’s not uncommon for flood damaged cars to turn up in used car showrooms and private sale adverts.
Whilst some consumers knowingly buy a total loss vehicle at a bargain price and accept that there may be issues in the future, some buyers are entirely unaware of the history of the car and potential problems that may arise, which result in expensive repair bills.
The recurring bouts of heavy rain across the UK are expected to result in a higher number of flood damaged cars being sold in the second-hand market, with the AA estimating that this recent spell of weather alone will see approximately 2,800 flood-damaged cars entering the used car market.
So how do you spot a flood damaged car?
- Signs of mud, silt, water or moisture lines in the interior:
Look in the glove box, under the dashboard, engine housing, boot and light clusters. Also check under interior flooring and boot lining checking that upholstery and carpets fit snugly – they may also give off a musty smell so be wary of strong air fresheners.
- Consider having the AA or other reputable company carry out an inspection of the vehicle:
This would provide you with impartial advice and could help you to negotiate a better price.
- Test drive the car:
Sometimes common sense will tell you something isn’t right – look out for things like smoke appearing where it shouldn’t.
- Other signs of moisture:
Be vigilant for excessive condensation on the inside of the windows and fogging of interior instrument covers, e.g. gauges and speedometer.
- Run a Vehicle History Data Check:
This will highlight if the vehicle has been declared a total loss and the category the write off falls into.
For most people, buying a car is a significant investment. Whilst consumer protection exists for a short time after the car has been purchased, this is not indefinite. Often, flooding problems will only become apparent some months later and at that point could be expensive to rectify.
Protect your investment with gap insurance, and make sure you buy your next car with your eyes wide open.
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