Is It Safe to Buy a Flood Damaged Car?

Is It Safe to Buy a Flood Damaged Car?

Thousands of cars incur flood damage every year, and many of these vehicles are repaired and sold at used car dealerships across the country. However, that doesn't mean that purchasing a flood-damaged car is a good idea. Flood-damaged cars are risky investments that are often more trouble than they are worth. 


Is It Safe to Buy a Flood Damaged Car?

Do we think it is safe to buy a flood-damaged car? No!  Instead of taking our opinion, let's look at the reasoning why purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle is not only a bad idea, but can be dangerous.

Problems from Flood Damaged Vehicles

There are a plethora of issues that come from a vehicle that has been flooded, and these problems vary due to depth, time, and the make-up of the water. First of all, moisture and electricity do not go together.

Many of our modern vehicles rely on electronics for them to run. Everything from the ignition system to the sensors that send information to the vehicle's computer to ensure that the vehicle is running correctly. At any juncture that these devices go down due to flood damage, a vehicle will not be able to perform at its best. 

Water damage can also compromise many of the safety features that protect you in cases of wrecks or losing control. Anti-lock brakes and airbag systems both rely on electronics as well. 

Another issue that water damage can create in a vehicle is that flooded cars can develop mildew and mold. Both of these things can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Some mold spores may even lead to chronic disease.

One of the most serious problems in flooded vehicles is the potential for engine damage. Not only do modern engines come equipped with wires, relays, sensors, and computers, but the motor itself isn't made to take on large amounts of water. Engines can corrode and break down when submerged in water for too long. 

A vehicle's body is susceptible to damage due to taking on water. Even if the water wasn't deep enough to wreck the motor and electronics, the chassis and undercarriage could be corroded and rusted. The clear coat could also be damaged, leaving a paint job to be wrecked by the weather.

Needless to say, flood damage can be extremely destructive, just short of being totaled. In some cases, vehicles will be given a salvaged or flooded title if the damage is enough. To learn more about whether or not a vehicle is a total loss, check out our blog here.

Reasons to Buy a Flood Damaged Car

There are very few reasons to spend a single dollar on a flooded vehicle, mainly because of all of the possible safety issues and ongoing problems that come up because of water. However, there are a few reasons why purchasing a flood-damaged car would not be the worst idea.

  • Short Term Use: Sometimes, you need a car for a few months while you are saving for a new car. Whether you are a recent college grad looking for your first job, or a low-budget adventurer who needs a quick way to get around, salvage title vehicles may fit the bill.
  • Second Home Vehicles: There is a case for purchasing a flood-damaged or salvage title vehicle that is left at a second home for when they are vacationing. 
  • Hobbyists: Sometimes, purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle is a great way to save money for those who are mechanically inclined. Salvage title cars are popular amongst builders who enjoy rebuilding vehicles from the ground up.
  • Parts Cars: Sometimes, the only vehicle at the junkyard that matches the vehicle a car enthusiast building has a salvage title or flood damage. 

Otherwise, any car that has been subjected to flood damage should cost way less than market value. If a dealership is not offering you the best deal ever, then walk away because it is not worth it. 

Buyer Beware!

According to Carfax, there are at least 378,000 flood-damaged cars back on the roads or at dealerships across the country. Many times flood-damaged vehicles are transported beyond the storm area after major storms so that consumers could be less aware of the warning signs to look for. According to Consumer Reports, many flood-damaged vehicles were rebuilt and found with clean titles. 

While there are many ways to check out a vehicle's history report to see if there is flood damage, they are not all-inclusive. Ultimately, a detailed inspection by a reputable mechanic is the best protection for consumers.

If you are thinking of purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle or would like to get a detailed inspection, take your vehicle to a local repair facility like Speedee's or Fletcher Car Care.

If you’ve received collision damage and are wondering if your car can soldier on, schedule an appointment with First Aid Collision, a full-service collision shop in south Asheville, NC. 

We can repair and restore vehicles to like new condition, and will be honest if it’s not worth your money to do so. Our customer service-driven team specializes in auto body repairs, automotive painting, and more. Contact us today for more information!