Are flood trucks coming to a town near you?
Hurricanes have caused major devastation to Texas, Florida and other southern states on the US mainland. The cleanup task will undoubtedly take years to return things to somewhat normal. Exactly what I am worried about is the potentially HUGE variety of flood cars and trucks that will soon hit the market and be offered as super deals, you know, the kind that are too good to be true. The issue is not that the car is used, but that it is possibly a casualty of the hurricanes and high water. These utilized cars and trucks are usually understood in business as “flood cars and trucks.”
Now I know what you might be thinking, “I don’t live in these Southern areas, so I am not at danger of unconsciously purchasing one of these flood cars.” Sorry, you’re dead wrong … in fact the further away you live from the hurricane damage, the higher probability of being scammed into buying one of these cars or trucks. It’s estimated that there will be more than one million vehicles claimed by Harvey alone, this includes dealer stock as well as individual and business owned property.
Marketing of these damaged vehicles happens fast, far and wide, not just in the proximity of the affected area. For this event, the flood damage took place mostly in Texas and Florida and I’ve already seen car carriers headed up the Southern California freeways loaded with Texas plated vehicles. Could it be coincidental, probably not? I would suspect these trucks and autos will be at auction and on the market very quickly and continue to be for about a year … perhaps more.
Exactly why is it so important to know if water got inside the vehicle even if it seems to run great? The engine itself may be great, and long-term engine damage may not have actually taken place, however, there are a lot of other elements in the vehicle that can appear to be working typically now, however, can degrade in the future. More significantly this degradation can be a safety concern.
Water gets inside the car from underneath from holes in the frame and body and around the door openings. The carpet can easily be changed, but the electrical wiring under and throughout the framework is generally too complicated and therefore too pricey to replace, so new carpet is laid on top of them, concealing any potential damage.
So what, wires get wet…
So exactly what if the wires get damp? Rust, rust is your opponent, and rust you will soon have. These wires will now slowly start to break down and rust will form on any part of the wire that is not safeguarded. When the electrical power traveling inside these wires reaches this rust, it will make a ground, and the electrical energy will stop taking a trip. Whatever part the electricity was taking a trip to, a fuel pump for instance, will quickly quit working. Finding the trouble area in the miles of wire is not a simple job. The carpets and seat will probably have to be gotten rid of and hours of diagnostic time will most likely be accumulated as the mechanic looks for the difficulty area.
Another area of concern in a lot of vehicles, the onboard computer system lies in the lower part of the guest dashboard location, just inches above the carpets. Some Japanese models have the computer system under the passenger seat, on top of the carpet! If the computer system gets wet, not only will it need to be replaced, it may have already caused harm to a lot of other electrical components.
The computer can be replaced, and all may seem well, but the rust will soon make its way to these other electrical components and a domino effect will probably begin to happen. One sensor after another will stop working, intermittent electrical issues will begin to occur, and your pocketbook will quickly start to feel the ill results of multiple month-to-month mechanic visits. I consider rust the cancer of vehicles, you have to keep cutting and cutting and cutting to stop its growth.
Transmissions are another huge ticket product that can be impacted by water and not show signs for some time. When moisture enters the transmission, the typically light pink fluid ends up being a light white/pinkish frothy mix, like a strawberry milkshake. The entire workings of the transmission are very complicated and complete of wires, sensors, and a great deal of rubber seals and O-rings. The water will trigger the rubber parts to swell, crack and leak, and the sensors and electrical parts will soon catch rust and water damage as well. Again the camouflaged effects of water damage is extensive and if you’re not proactive you could fall victim losing thousands of dollars.
So exactly what can you do to secure yourself from purchasing a flooded time bomb?
- Beware of every used vehicle on the market.
- Take your time inspecting and test driving. A good deal today is usually a bargain tomorrow too, so don’t succumb to aggressive sales people. Schedule your presale inspection with us here.
- Inspect under the driver and traveler seats for apparent signs of rust on the seat tracks and metal seat frame.
- Look at the headliner (the material on the roof inside the vehicle). When damp, the glue that holds this material in place will begin to compromise, and the fabric will begin to drop entirely, or will fall in small areas that will look like bubbles.
- Inspect the exhaust and the undercarriage system for signs of large scale rust. If you have questions, ask us or your mechanic.
- Utilize your nose. Or feels moist to your skin … run if the within of the vehicle smells moldy and damp!
- Remove the wheels and examine the brakes. This needs to be done anyway if you are inspecting, but rust damage will really show itself on the brake components.
- Check all under-hood fluids for water contamination. Oil and water will look like a chocolate milkshake, transmission and oil or power steering
These cars and trucks are commonly understood in the industry as “flood cars and trucks.” Protect yourself and keep your family safe. Call and schedule a pre-sale inspection today, it’s just an added service we provide for the community with the hopes of earning your diesel repair business ongoing.