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Buyer Beware: The Used Car Market is Flooding With Flooded Vehicles
November 8, 2017
One of the major selling points to a brand new vehicle is a solid sense of security. You can be void of worries in regards to how a previous owner handled the vehicle, what hidden defects it may have or those left uncovered.
That being said, a used vehicle purchase is typically your most bang-for-your-buck car buying option, though it can come with higher risk. Without proper research and inspection, the great deal in front of you may not be as solid as it seems.
2017 has had one of the most catastrophic hurricane seasons in decades. Devastating hurricanes and tropical storms swept across the coast accumulated billions of dollars in damages. USA Today reported that hurricane Harvey alone may have wrecked up to one million cars and trucks. According to Forbes, nearly half of these flood damaged vehicles are likely to hit the used car buying market.
While laws are in place to attempt to protect against unknown flooded vehicle purchases, the reality is that these vehicles often get laundered to a different state and start fresh with a clean title, stripping away any documented record of flood, fire, or physical damage.
There are a few rules you can follow to help mitigate your risk and buy safe:
- Always get a vehicle history report
Central Sunbelt offers free Auto Check with the financing of any vehicle at the credit union. The free Auto Check report can give a comprehensive list of the vehicle's history to give you a solid picture before buying.
- Watch out for state or salvaged titles
A state or salvage title will not provide a comprehensive vehicle history. At best, those titles will only show a record of reported items since that new title was generated- but won't link back to the original or previous titles that may be attached to the vehicle.
- Opt for a 3rd party inspection
Obtaining a thorough inspection from a trusted mechanic that has no affiliation with the seller is your best bet before buying. The mechanic's ability to earn repeat business hinges on their expertise to protect your purchase, not getting the vehicle sold and out the door.
- Ask lots of questions and buy from a trusted person
Typically a used car purchase will be sold as-is. In some cases there may be a short return policy. Make sure you are well educated with the terms of the purchase as well as the vehicle you are buying. If in doubt, don't buy. There are thousands of great used cars out there and many trustworthy dealerships that have their legacy on the line with each purchase. With all the technology and tracking available today, and a very competitive used-sales market, there is absolutely no reason to afford to take a risk.