AAA Carolinas warns car-buyers of flood damaged vehicles for sal -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

AAA Carolinas warns car-buyers of flood damaged vehicles for sale

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - If you're in the market for a new car, something that needs to be on your mind is the recent flooding that left many vehicles damaged. AAA Carolinas had a warning for car-buyers Friday- to be aware flood-damaged vehicles will be for sale soon.

As cleanup continues, AAA Carolinas said car-buyers should know how to avoid buying a vehicle that might look great, but could be suffering from flood damage.

Vehicles that are damaged in flooding are often totaled by insurance companies, then sold to salvage companies. Those are, in turn, sometimes bought by people who restore them with varying levels of expertise. 

"Fresh paint, new upholstery and that 'new-car smell' can mask flood damage," said Greg Pence, Auto Buying Manager for AAA Carolinas. "While services like CarFax can be a good resource for buyers, the only true way of knowing whether a vehicle has suffered flood damage is to have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle."

Tips on How to Spot a Flood-Damaged Vehicle:

  • Engage your sense of smell to detect any damp or musty odors inside the vehicle.
  • Are the windows fogged up? Has the carpet or upholstery been replaced or recently shampooed? Pull back the carpet at different areas and look for mud, dirt or signs of water stains.
  • Inspect the dashboard underside for signs of mud and dirt. This is a particularly hard area to clean.
  • Look under the vehicle for corrosion. It is uncommon to find corrosion in newer vehicles and those that are owned or sold in southern states.
  • Open all doors, hood, and trunk to inspect for corrosion, mud and dirt or discoloration on the door frames, hinges and under the weather stripping. Pay special attention to small spaces and crevices that are difficult to clean.
  • Check all warning lights, window motors, and all electrical components to ensure they are working properly. While a non-working part alone does not mean the vehicle was flooded, it combined with other difficulties is a cause for concern.

The best protection, AAA Carolinas said, is to obtain a thorough pre-purchase inspection by a qualified shop.

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