If you are in any state in the Southeast (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Texas) there is a chance that buying a car in September or October 2017 could be very risky. There are thousand upon thousands of “flood cars” that are going to be solid at rock bottom prices. There is the possibility that a shady used car dealership will buy these vehicles for pennies on the dollar at an auction and then resell them in another state for a huge profit.
There is only one way to combat this – check the Carfax. Most reputable car dealerships will allow you to look at the Carfax of any used car for free; before you make the purchase. If a car dealership is reluctant to let you look at the Carfax it is time to walk away and go to another dealership. There are way too many great car dealerships to deal with a sketchy one that is trying to sell you a Hurricane Harvey flood car.
Car dealerships like Powers Swain in Fayetteville, NC give you the benefit of knowing a used car has gone through the “stress test” because it is certified pre owned. Many used car buyers feel more comfortable buying a certified pre owned vehicle because they know that authorized dealership mechanics have looked at the vehicle and have “ok’d” it to be sold.
If you are buying from a used car lot or a “buy here, pay here” lot, there is a good chance only one mechanic, if any, have looked at the vehicle. If that one mechanic is well versed in GM or Chevy vehicles he may not be well versed in Audi, BMW, Mercedes or other European brands. Before deciding on the cheaper car, remember that you often get what you pay for. If you want to save $2,000 or $3,000 by purchasing a car from a shady used car lot, you may find out that it is a flood car that has damage that can never be fixed.
Unfortunately, there are few ways to spot a flood damage car if a used car dealer has cleaned it up. There are the obvious tells in that the interior carpet is wet or there are rust marks on the vehicle but other than that, a car dealer can make the vehicle look like it is almost brand new.
This is another concern for those shopping on Craigslist after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. If you are thinking about buying a used car on Craigslist you would be well advised to do your research on flood cars. Even if you are in Virginia or North Carolina, vehicles can travel across country very quickly; especially if someone knows they can make $5000 or more.
Have you noticed any flood cars in your part of the United States? Where have you noticed them? Are local used car lots in your area offering super low prices after the hurricanes?