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Arts and Lifestyle

America is seeing a flood of ‘flood cars’
Published Wednesday, February 28, 2018
by North American Precis Syndicate

Recent research suggests drivers may be behind the wheel of more than 325,000 previously flooded vehicles. That’s a 20 percent increase from 2016 and a stark reminder to consumers to do due diligence when used-car shopping.

“I bought a car last year, and the seller never told us anything about it being a flood car,” said Charlene Geiger from Pennsylvania. “When we got home and ran a Carfax, there it was, a flood car from Hurricane Sandy. It showed that the seller bought it as a salvage car and the title was washed when he brought it to Pennsylvania. We lost $16,000 over all of it.”

Vehicles reported as flood damaged by a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, insurance companies and more have washed up in every state. These 10 have the most:

  1. Texas: 51,000
  2. Louisiana… 29,000
  3. Pennsylvania: 20,000
  4. Florida: 19,000
  5. Kentucky: 16,000
  6. Illinois: 15,000
  7. South Carolina: 13,000
  8. Virginia: 13,000
  9. North Carolina: 13,000
  10. Michigan: 11,000

In addition, several hundred thousand more flooded cars may emerge from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Historically, about half the vehicles damaged by floods end up back on the market. Flooded cars rot from the inside out as water corrodes the mechanical parts, shorts the electrical system, and compromises safety features like air bags and anti-lock brakes. Health concerns are an added problem, as mold and bacteria permeate the soft parts of the car.

“Our data shows there’s still much work to be done in helping consumers avoid buying flood-damaged cars,” said Dick Raines, president of Carfax. “They can, and do, show up all over the country, whether it be a few miles or hundreds of miles from where the flooding occurred. With two devastating storms like Harvey and Irma, it’s vital for used-car buyers everywhere to protect themselves from flooded cars that may wind up for sale. Start with a thorough test drive, a vehicle history report and a mechanic’s inspection before buying any used car.”

Localized flooded vehicle statistics are available upon request. An infographic is also available for use at www.carfax.com/press/resources/flooded-cars.


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