Thousands of cars damaged in the flooding from Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael will end up on the market in the future.
“We see a lot of those cars make their way up north a few weeks after the hurricane,” said David Drake, owner of Terry’s Service Center.
Drake said a lot of these damaged cars can be disguised for resale.
“People are really good at cleaning up cars, waxing them, using ozone treatments in the interior so you can’t smell it,” Drake said.
This is why Drake says it’s so important to have a professional look under the hood before you buy.
“We look for the areas that are not easily cleaned, the cracks and crevasses, there’s mud packed in there,” Drake said. “We’ve seen people bring in their cars after they’ve purchased them where we found water contamination in the transmission and that can be $4,000-$5,000 to replace.”
Drake said many storm damaged cars will have salvage titles which means the insurance company paid on a total loss and the car is to be sold for salvage parts only. However, if someone didn’t have the coverage or didn’t file a claim the title can still appear clean.
So look for any type of interior rust, that’s a sign water was inside the car for a period of time. Also, check under the carpet for any signs of moisture or if it was recently replaced.
“Everything can appear OK for a period of time and then have multiple components failing in the future,” Drake said.
Drake said his business reports everything to Carfax, which is another great resource to check before you buy. It could save you thousands down the road.