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More Flooded Cars Hit the Resale Market and the Road

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Per Forbes, approximately 480,000 flood-damaged vehicles are currently on dealer lots or on the road, in the wake of this year’s two major hurricanes. It’s a 47-percent increase over last year’s already-high stats from hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Salvaged vehicles

Legally, flood-damaged vehicles are supposed to bear the label of “salvaged” on their titles. Then they usually sell at auto auctions to vehicle rebuilders or auto graveyards.

Sometimes these cars are reconditioned then sold to ignorant buyers, however. These vehicles might have the term “rebuilt” associated with their titles. In some cases though, the seller will change the documentation illegally to make the damaged car more desirable to consumers.

The five top cities currently with the most flooded cars on the road are New York City, Miami, Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia. At the state level, Texas has the majority of flood-damaged vehicles (168,600). Florida is second, with 34,400, followed by Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Illinois.

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Buyer beware

Besides avoiding vehicles with signs of flood damage, there are a few other ways you can protect yourself from purchasing one of these autos.

  • Forbes recommends checking the vehicle identification number (VIN) via sites like VINCheck, CARFAX, or AuotoCheck, which scan the vehicles’ titles for any reports of flood damage.
  • Per CARFAX, take a test-drive to further inspect the vehicle’s interior for signs of damage, as well as mechanical issues.
  • Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle you’re considering. They’re have the experience and tools to thoroughly inspect the auto for any flaws and problems you failed to notice.
  • Buy from a reputable dealer, or a vehicle listed in your dealership’s CPO program, to ensure its mechanical soundness.

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News Sources: ForbesCARFAX