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What Happens to Flood-Damaged Cars?

Thousands of cars are damaged or destroyed by floods every year, but don’t assume all those vehicles end up in a junkyard. Some are repaired and resold in other parts of the country without the buyer being aware of the car’s waterlogged history. In fact, Carfax says 378,000 flooded cars were back on the roads in 2021. In addition, 2022s Florida’s Hurricane Ian, and the atmospheric “bomb cyclones” that brought flooding to California, Nevada, Texas, and other states will certainly add many more damaged cars to the used-car market.

The key takeaway is that you need to be vigilant when buying a used car, even if you don’t live near a traditional storm area. That’s because flood-damaged cars are often transported well beyond their original region after major storms to locations where consumers may be less aware of the warning signs to look for.

Water can wreak havoc on automobiles: rusty floorboards, water-logged electronics that controls so much of the car, including safety systems, and airbag controllers. It may take months or years, but corrosion can find its way to the car’s vital electronics and the long-term effects of water damage can haunt buyers for the life of the car.

But as Consumer Reports found years ago in an investigation of rebuilt wrecks, some flood-damaged vehicles reappear with a clean title. Be especially wary of any used car being offered with a “lost” title or with only a bill of sale.

Kenneth Potiker, owner of Riteway Auto Dismantlers, knows what advice he’d give to people considering the purchase of such a vehicle. “I would tell them not to buy a car like that — that would be the best advice. If it floods inside a car, water damage is one of the worst types of damage.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Redemption; Renewal; Restoration; Second Chance - Storms can suddenly strike and damage our possessions beyond repair. This puts buyers on the alert asking, “Has this been so damaged that it is now worthless?” The same question can be asked in the spiritual realm when a person has been damaged by the sudden storms of sin. “What happens to storm-damaged people? Are they of any value?” But by God’s grace there can be redemption, forgiveness, and restoration.

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