Beware of buying flood-damaged cars after severe storms

Buying a used car can be a wise decision for many people looking for a good value and smaller financial investments. However, there are some potential risks that come with buying used cars, including undisclosed damages.

Before you buy a used car from an individual, dealership or any other party, it is wise to conduct some research first. This can be especially important in the coming months, as flood-damaged cars tend to appear on the market after severe storms like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. 

Why flood damage can be so bad

A car that has been through a flood can have numerous problems including everything from mold or mildew in the upholstery to severe electrical and engine failures. Corrosion can cause serious issues, particularly when the flooding is from salt water. This damage can be very difficult -- or even impossible -- to fully repair.

Signs of flood damage in a vehicle

Sellers typically don't like to advertise that a car has sustained flood damage. In fact, many will go to great lengths to cover up or try to repair signs of flooding. These efforts are often inadequate, and potential buyers could in for some serious headaches and repair bills if they miss signs that a car has been in a flood. These signs include:

  • Musty smells inside the vehicle
  • Brand new carpet and/or upholstery
  • Rust or other signs of corrosion
  • Malfunctioning locks or power windows
  • Water in the headlights or taillights

What to do if you buy a flood car

If you purchased a flood car, then you need to act quickly to assess your legal options. Depending on where you bought your vehicle, who sold it to you and the warranty that may or may not be in place, you could be eligible to receive a refund or replacement vehicle. 

Unfortunately, this is a complicated process and people can easily get confused and overwhelmed if they are unfamiliar with California and federal lemon laws. This is why it can be so critical to contact an attorney who has the experience and knowledge in this area that you may not. With legal guidance and support, you can fight for the fair resolution you deserve.