Buyer beware: some used vehicles coming on the market could have been flooded in Hurricane Ian
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It can still be hard to find a car to buy these days. Chip shortages and supply chain issues have improved some, but not enough to meet demand.
If you’re in the market for a used car, there’s another thing to be aware of – soon, there are likely to be a lot of cars that were flooded in Hurricane Ian showing up for sale around the country.
When hurricanes and other storms cause major flooding, a lot of cars often get damaged.
“And historically, we know a lot of times these vehicles end up back on the roads,” said Emilie Voss at Carfax. She noted that it’s common for flood-damaged cars to find their way onto used car lots.
And often, prospective buyers have no idea.
“These cars that have water damage, a lot of times they have mechanical issues, so there could be corroding metal, exhaust system issues, overheating, electrical issues, short circuiting wires, that kind of thing,” Voss said.
Which means they’re likely to need frequent repairs, said Michelle Krebs at Cox Automotive, “it’s really a buyer beware situation.”
She said it’s always worth looking up a car’s history before buying. Sometimes it will show that it’s been through a flood. And even if it doesn’t, “if you see that it’s been in South Florida, for example, then … that’s the first red flag,” said Krebs.
But, because it’s so hard to find a car these days, especially an affordable one, Krebs said she’s concerned that people may still go for flood-damaged cars if the price is low enough.
“They may be tempted at one of these deals, but it may cost them more in the long run,” she said.
The other thing is, there are about to be a lot more people who need cars if theirs were destroyed in Hurricane Ian. And that means, Krebs said, it’s likely the car shortage is about to get worse.
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