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Evading Flood Damaged Cars

Southern states could be getting a lot of rain this weekend which means that buyers with credit issues will again have to be on the looking for vehicles that have suffered water damage
Evading Flood Damaged Cars
What we know

It’s a fact. According to Experian Automotive consumers with questionable credit have a higher risk of financing a car that has suffered some type of water damage. It would therefore especially benefit them if they learned how to spot these types of vehicles.

At Auto Credit Express we know this to be the case after more than twenty years of helping car shoppers with credit issues find the right types of dealers that can give them their best opportunities for auto loan approvals.

Washing more than titles

While finance companies that arrange auto loans for buyers with bad credit won’t approve finance contracts for vehicles with branded titles (includes those with water damage), unfortunately this doesn’t mean it never happens.

When this does occur it’s usually the result of salvage operators buying vehicles that have suffered some type of accident or flood damage, cleaning them up, and then re-titling them in another state resulting in a clean title in a practice known as “title washing.”

AAA tips

In one particular article, AAA noted that cars with flood damage often appear up to a year after a major flood. These vehicles can and are shipped and sold as new or used cars anywhere in the U.S.

“Depending on the vehicle make, model and age, the cost of a thorough cleaning and drying may exceed the car’s value,” said John Nielsen, director, AAA Auto Repair.  “In many cases, insurance companies ‘total’ flood-damaged vehicles that are then sold to salvage companies.”

“However, rather than being disassembled for parts, some of these vehicles end up being purchased by individuals who bring varying levels of expertise to the restoration process,” continued Nielsen.

Because many areas of a motor vehicle are difficult to get to (such as door locks, wiring harnesses and heating and air conditioning components) they are not that easily cleaned. These systems might initially perform properly but they could – due to corrosion and oxidation – fail at some later date.

Here are some tips from the American Automobile Association on how to spot vehicle flood damage:

• Obtain a CARFAX Vehicle History Report – One of these can potentially reveal if the vehicle has been involved in a flood, major accident, fire, or uncover odometer fraud.
• Engage your sense of smell to detect any damp or musty odors inside the vehicle.
• Has the carpet or upholstery been replaced or recently shampooed?  Pullback the carpet at different areas and look for mud, dirt or signs of water stains.
• Inspect the dashboard underside for signs of mud and dirt.  This is a particularly hard area to clean.
• Look under the vehicle for corrosion.  It is uncommon to find corrosion in newer vehicles and those that are owned or sold in southern states.  
• Open all doors, hood, and trunk to inspect for corrosion, mud and dirt or discoloration on the door frames, hinges and under the weather stripping. Pay special attention to small spaces and crevices that are difficult to clean.  
• Check all warning lights, window motors, and all electrical components to ensure they are working properly.  While a non-working part alone does not mean the vehicle was flooded, it combined with other difficulties is a cause for concern.  
• Always have the vehicle inspected by a quality repair facility prior to purchasing.  AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities are located across the United States.  Nearby locations can be found at AAA.com/Repair.  

As we see it

Car buyers, especially those that have experienced credit problems, should be especially careful when picking out used cars. While the majority of new cars are typically covered by state lemon laws, used cars rarely are. Another thing to remember: If the deal for a car you’re looking at appears to be too good to be true, it probably is.

One more thing: if you are someone whose credit is less than perfect we want you to know that Auto Credit Express specializes in helping applicants with car credit issues find dealers that can give them their best chances at approved auto loans.

So if you’re ready to reestablish your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online auto loans application.

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