Car buyers are being warned to be careful buying a used car over the next few months. It happens after every hurricane and tropical storm, vehicles damaged by floodwaters end up back on the road and sold to pre-owned car buyers far from where the storms hit. According to Carfax, up to 5,000 flooded cars washed up in Arizona in 2016.
Dave Martin, owner of Martin Auto Repair in central Phoenix, said " It happens more than you think it does, just because we are a dryer climate." He added that sometimes sellers can wash the car's title and a buyer would never know the vehicle should have been totaled. Martin warns if the car smells musty or moldy, watch out. Also look for mud or sand in the glove compartment and under the seats.
Electrial problems plague flooded out vehicles. Engine computers, sensors and electronics are vulnerable to corrosion, and expensive to fix. Martin said a flooded car is like dropping your cell phone into water and getting it to work, eventually you will have problems.
Martin urges anyone buying a used vehicle get a pre-purchase inspection to avoid a flooded out vehicle.