Cleanup after Hurricane Ian continues, and if you’ve been thinking of buying a car, perhaps because your own vehicle was damaged, you need to be careful. Many flooded cars from the storm are expected to end up on the resale market, and driving these cars can be dangerous. They can even cause you to end up in a car accident.
Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re considering buying a car, you don’t want one that has been flooded, even if it was only partly flooded and has been dried out and cleaned up since then. Such vehicles can have many mechanical problems. They’re expensive to fix up correctly and may have multiple issues that will only show up after you’ve gotten the car off the lot.
Some cars are sold as a salvage. The sellers may disclose a car was water damaged. In other situations, the seller may not indicate (or might not know) a car was under water. If you’re looking for a used car in the next several months, be alert for previously flooded cars so you can avoid them. Here’s what to look for:
- Odors. Any moldy smell, especially in the trunk, may be a sign of water damage. Some sellers try to mask musty smells with strong cleaners or deodorizers, too, so look for any strong smell.
- Visual signs of water damage. Check the car carefully. Are you seeing signs of rust or moisture? Have several parts been replaced, such as the carpet? Do you see signs of sand and mud in the trunk, glove compartment, or under the seats? Any of these can be signs of water damage.
- The VIN. You can look up a car’s vehicle identification numbers (VIN) using the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) database or the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). If you see a salvage title or long repair history, that’s an issue. If you’re buying outside of Florida but see that the car was registered in the Carolinas or Florida when the storm happened, you might want to ask the seller for more details.
- What mechanics see. If everything else about a vehicle looks good, take the car to a mechanic before buying. A mechanic can look for water damage (and other issues) affecting the engine, motor, and electrical components. They can perform a more through inspection than you can and may be able to let you know whether the car needs any repairs right away.
What can you do if you’re in an accident with a mechanically faulty car? In these situations, you may want to pursue the liable party. After all, they had an obligation to offer a road-worthy car. If they were negligent and caused your injuries, you may have a claim.
If you’d like to know more, call Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 or contact us online to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. Our team has more than 60 years of experience, so we can tell you whether you have a claim—and how much your potential claim may be worth. We work with investigators and have successfully secured over $100 million on behalf of clients. When you work with us, you have this depth and breadth of experience on your side.