(WTNH) — Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were a long way away from Connecticut, but soon we could be seeing an impact on the used car market. Thousands of cars flooded during those storms, and chances are some of them could end up on lots around here.
Experts say checking a Carfax report is a good start, but it won’t help if the damage was never reported. That may be the case with these cars.
Steven DePalma is a service manager at Robert’s Service Center in Milford. Over the past few years, he’s seen cars that have been flooded, and he knows what to look for. He says the spare tire compartment is a good place to start.
“It’s a low point,” DePalma said. “A lot of water can get in the trunk and you will see a lot of rust marks.”
Flood waters usually leave something behind, even if the car has been cleaned well. Sometimes you have to look for it, however. Experts say it’s best to have a mechanic check a car out before you buy it. There are things you can look for too.
“We also look for any type of mold and any type of corrosion on any type of wiring harness or computers,” DePalma said.
Experts say one of the best things you can do when checking for flood damage is to get inside the car with the windows up. If there’s any mold, you’ll be able to smell it.
“Check under rugs. Check under dashboards,” said Fran Mayko, spokesperson for AAA Northeast. “Look for grime. Look for rust.”
The lights are another important place to check. If a car has been flooded, there may be moisture visible inside them.
If you buy a car that has been flooded it may mean you’ll end up in the breakdown lane.
“Cars are now high tech. They have computers,” said Mayko. “They have sensors. These electrical components are all going to be affected by water.”
If the seller won’t let you have a mechanic check it out, that could be a red flag that something’s wrong.
Experts say crooks may also try to sell parts from ruined cars. Be wary – flood waters will likely have wrecked those too.