CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Tropical Storm Debby is pounding the Gulf Coast with more than a foot of rain. That much rain means plenty of flooded out cars—cars that will soon be showing up on used car lots, possibly here in the Carolinas.
If you are going to be shopping for a car or truck in the next few months, be sure to ask for a Carfax.
A Carfax report will tell you if the car has ever been wrecked or in a flood. If the dealer won’t show you one, then walk away. The following information is from the Carfax website.
To help you avoid cars with water damage, CARFAX offers these tips:
• Check the trunk, glove compartment, the dashboard and below the seats for signs of water damage such as silt, mud or rust.
• Examine upholstery and carpeting closely; if it doesn't match the interior or fits loosely, it may have been replaced. Discolored, faded or stained materials could indicate water damage.
• Turn the ignition key and make sure that accessory and warning lights and gauges come on and work properly. Make sure the airbag and ABS lights come on.
• Test lights (interior and exterior), windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work.
• Flex some of the wires beneath the dashboard. Wet wires will become brittle upon drying and may crack.
• Take a deep breath and smell for musty odors from mildew.
• Go to a trusted mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. Always get vehicles checked BEFORE handing over any money.
• Ask to see a vehicle history report. CARFAX Vehicle History Reports can reveal many hidden problems from a vehicle's past, including flood titles, and will indicate if a vehicle has been titled/registered in at-risk areas during flood and hurricane seasons. If the seller does not offer a report, use the 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) available on the dashboard to check the car's history at Carfax.com.
Facts: Flood Damage from Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
• Hurricane Floyd (1999) damaged 75,000 vehicles and than half were put back out on the road.
• Tropical Storm Allison (2001) - More than 95,000 vehicles flooded by the most extensive tropical storm in U.S. history.
• Hurricane Ivan (2004) - Left more than 100,000 cars submerged in floodwaters throughout the Southeast.
• Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Wilma (2005) – claimed more than 600,000 cars across the Gulf Coast. Many of these cars still are showing up for sale around the country.
• Hurricane Ike (2008) – more than 100,000 cars in Texas and Louisiana, from Galveston and Houston over to Baton Rouge, were left underwater.