Flooded cars are a huge problem here in our area. Carfax estimates that Washington, DC has seen a 300% increase in flooded cars since 2021.
WASHINGTON — Hurricane Ian cleanup continues, and that includes tens of thousands of cars, trucks and SUVs damaged by flood waters. Industry experts are warning buyers in this competitive used car market to make sure one of those flooded cars doesn’t end up in their driveway.
Flooded cars can cost thousands in repairs down the road, when long-term saltwater damage erodes the engine and other parts.
Carfax estimates nationally that the number [of flood damaged cars on the road] it’s about 400,000 vehicles, and that was before Hurricane Ian, so we know that number is likely to increase,” said Emilie Voss of Carfax.
Flooded cars are a huge problem here in our area. Carfax estimates that Washington, DC has seen a 300% increase in flooded cars since 2021 and has the second highest number of flood-damaged vehicles of any state in the country. The entire metro area ranks 18th in the nation, according to Carfax, with an estimated 4,600 vehicles on the road with a history of flooding.
Here are some tips to help consumers avoid buying a flood-damaged vehicle.
- Look up a vehicle’s history by running the vehicle identification number (VIN) through a free database, such as VINCheck from the National Crime Insurance Bureau. Carfax also offers a free flood check of the car’s VIN.
- Inspect the car for clues like sand under the floor mats, moisture in the headlights, or signs of discoloration or debris around metal screws or bolts. When an unscrupulous seller cleans a car thoroughly, flood damage may not be apparent.
- Have the vehicle professionally inspected by a trusted mechanic. (You should do this with any used vehicle you’re considering buying.)
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