Flood-damaged autos driving into used-car market, client group warns


Hundreds of automobiles and vehicles have been broken by main floods this yr and that makes it much more essential for right this moment’s used-car consumers to scrutinize potential purchases, client advocacy teams warn. 

Anybody kicking the tires on a used automobile on the market ought to scan the car in and out for flood injury, the U.S. Public Curiosity Analysis Group stated Thursday. If there is a automobile you are critically contemplating, sniff across the inside for the scent of mould, search for moisture construct up within the headlights and even have the car inspected by an expert earlier than making a deal, the group stated. 

It is crucial that you simply look at the automobile your self and never simply belief the vendor as a result of “some individuals may not be sincere about it,” Jacob van Cleef, a client watchdog affiliate at U.S. PIRG, instructed CBS MoneyWatch. 

Are extra used automobiles with flood injury being offered this yr? U.S. PIRG stated it would not have knowledge to substantiate that. Nonetheless, the group stated it is warning clients now a number of developments level in that path. 


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First is the worldwide semiconductor scarcity that’s forcing Ford, GM and different automakers to roll out fewer new cars, which is pushing extra customers into the used-car market. 

Second is an increase in floods throughout the nation. Many cities that traditionally haven’t skilled main flooding, like Philadelphia and metro Detroit, discovered themselves beneath water in some unspecified time in the future this yr. Extra flooded communities means extra broken autos for sellers to attempt to revenue off of, van Cleef stated. 

Main floods this yr in Louisiana and California precipitated greater than $1 billion in damage every. And Hurricane Ida precipitated between $16 billion and $24 billion in flood losses, actual property knowledge supplier CoreLogic estimates. Inside that scope of harm, Carfax estimates greater than 210,000 autos have been broken by Ida floodwaters. 

Final month, the Nationwide Insurance coverage Crime Bureau additionally warned clients about flood-damaged automobiles and the way these autos typically find yourself again in the marketplace. 

“Dishonest sellers and different people should buy flooded autos, dry and clear them and promote them to unsuspecting consumers as used autos,” the Illinois nonprofit stated in an announcement. “Many of those autos come in the marketplace after pure disasters.”


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The NICB and U.S. PIRG gave different suggestions for figuring out a flood-damaged automobile, like working a test on the car identification quantity (VIN) utilizing VIN-check instruments reminiscent of made out there by the NICB and Carfax

Different suggestions embrace what to search for when inspecting a used automobile in individual:

  • Carry the rugs and search for sand or water stains.
  • Search for rusted metallic on screws and different mechanical connections.
  • Take a look at drive the automobile and really feel the way it accelerates and brakes.

Used automobiles are a preferred choice for patrons searching for a car that is cheap, but dependable. There have been about 41 million used automobiles offered within the U.S. in 2019, based on the most recent out there data from the U.S. Division of Transportation. That determine contains automobiles offered at a dealership and from non-public sellers. 



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