Bob Massi, the property man from Fox News addressed the issue of flood cars during Fox and Friends.
Last year HealthyLivingAfter60.com wrote a piece on this subject. There had been record rainfall in Houston. It happened again when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in September 2017. Much of Houston was underwater.
Estimates suggest that hundreds of thousand of cars have been flooded. Some report that number may reach as many as one million cars ruined.
While many cars will be junked, just as many of the flooded cars will likely find their way into the used car market.
If you are thinking, “I don’t live in Houston”, think again.
As Bob Massi reports, see the video below, many cars will be sold at auction and then sent across the country.
Wholesale Car Market
If you are unaware of the wholesale auction business, it is huge. Houston alone has at least three large auctions, each selling hundreds cars a week.
It makes sense that in the weeks and months to come, many flood cars will make their way into the wholesale market.
Many large auctions use live, online bidding. It makes it possible for a small dealer in Peoria to buy one or more cars in Houston, or Orlando, and have the shipped to their lot in Peoria.
Auto dealers from across the country will be buying cars and having them shipped to their local sales lots. Many will likely end up in your home town.
What to do
As we wrote about last year, there is one very important fact you need to know and one rule you must follow.
It does not guarantee you won’t end up with a flood car, but in will give you a much better chance of avoiding the misery of buying one.
CarFax – Your Best Defense
Most late model cars have loans or are leases. An insurance policy coving loss is nearly always a requirement.
When a car is destroyed or substantially damaged, an insurance claim is made. CarFax will learn about the claim and report it.
When you are considering a used car, insist the seller provide you with a CarFax report. If none is available, DON’T buy the car.
If you receive a CarFax report and there is no mention of an insurance claim you have passed step one.
Next, you will want to see if routine maintenance was done in the Houston area. Dealers routinely post, using the VIN, maintenance completed on a vehicle. The CarFax report will often pick up those reports.
If the car has records from Texas, or Houston specifically, don’t buy the car. Keep looking. Use that same strategy for cars coming from Florida. (Orlando has two of the largest auto auctions in the world)
While Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston and many other cities in Texas, Hurricane Irma literally covered the entire state of Florida.
As Bob Massi points out, it may be months before the flood cars reach the wholesale market. It may be a few more months before the car systems begin to fail because of water damage.
Bob Massi cites the example of the electronic of a cell phone. We all know what happens when we drop our phone in water. The same things happens to the computers in cars.
Don’t Stop There
Once you have received the CarFax, look closely at the car. Examine under the seats for rust and other signs of water damage. Look under the dash with a flashlight for water damage. A newer car will not look new behind the dash if it was flooded.
Ask the dealer where they bought the car. Ask for evidence. Auctions provide a simple one page receipt for every car bought at the auction.
Hundreds of dealers transport cars into Florida for sale at auction. The thinking is, they may receive a higher price in Florida. If your car was sitting in an auction lot when the Hurricane hit, it may very likely have been flooded. Find another car. Don’t take the chance.
Dealers will often not tell you the truth. If they can not back up their claim, move on.
Buying a flood car is a nightmare. Follow what Bob Massi and Fox News is reporting, and take the steps to protect yourself from buying a flood car.
If you have comments or questions, be sure to let us know in the comments section below. —Robert