If you’re shopping for used cars in Gainesville, FL after hurricane season, you should be extra vigilant concerning flood-damaged vehicles. In the wake of devastating storms, it’s common for unscrupulous owners to resell vehicles with flood damage to unsuspecting buyers. Unfortunately, there are many downsides to owning a flood-damaged car, and spotting a vehicle that previously had water damage isn’t always easy. To avoid future headaches and financial losses, it’s always a good idea to do your vehicle shopping at a reliable Gainesville used car dealership like Paul West Used Cars.

Physical Flood Damage To Used Cars

There are many ways that flood water can damage a used car and most stem from corrosion and rust. A car’s electronic wiring is usually one of the first things to go out. If flood water eats past the wiring coating and compromises the metal wire, the consequences can be a seizure to one or all a car’s mechanical systems. Flood water can also cause rust to a car’s sheet metal. Though subtle at first, rust continues to corrode a vehicle from the inside out, becoming a long-term problem that takes major body work to fix.

Not all flood damage is equal, and mother nature introduces more factors. The amount of time a car sat in flood water and how deep the water level was both impact the level of damage. Another factor that’s pertinent to Gainesville, FL used cars is the difference between saltwater and freshwater. The saltwater in a hurricane, for example, wreaks greater havoc on a vehicle than freshwater.

Financial Risks of Flood-Damaged Cars

Making a smart financial decision while shopping for a used car can be difficult. Plenty of drivers have come to us from other Gainesville used car dealerships to help them determine whether buying a water-damaged vehicle is worth it. Even if a flood-damaged car appears physically intact and drives well, corrosion and rust can still be lurking, causing damage and requiring major repairs down the road. To make matters worse, the manufacturer’s warranty is typically voided for a flooded car, putting all the responsibility for repairs on your shoulders. Lastly, the resale value of a flood-damaged vehicle is very low, and sometimes there isn’t one.

As an investment, a used car with flood damage is full of financial risk, and there is no guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth of value. A safer alternative is to use a trusted program like our buy here pay here in Gainesville, FL. Our BHPH program allows you to find a reliable used car to fit your needs and budget and then handle all the financing in one location, thus reducing the costs and hassles of a third-party financier.

Identifying Flood Damage on Used Cars

The smartest way to deter the financial risks of a flood-damaged car is to avoid buying one altogether. But that’s easier said than done because the damage isn’t always apparent and we understand the challenges a family can face when they need a car. Drivers who buy used cars in Gainesville should always inspect a vehicle before purchasing it, but these inspections are especially important following a storm or hurricane season.

We employ qualified technicians at our Gainesville used car dealership to inspect our pre-owned inventory of vehicles. If you don’t have access to a mechanic to perform an inspection, there are things you can look for in determining whether a car has flood damage, such as:

  • Checking for mud or rust and smelling for mildew in and under the carpeting;
  • Inspecting hard-to-reach places like the trunk and hood for mud or debris; and
  • Looking for rust on the heads of exposed screws or around the door edges.

Aside from physical damage, the paperwork of a used vehicle can also reveal if it’s been in a flood. A vehicle-history report is always a good idea when shopping for a used car, and it will tell whether the car had prior damage or came from a flood-prone area. Additionally, a car’s title can have a stamp identifying that the vehicle was in a flood or is salvage. Finally, a good sign of a flood-damaged car is that if the deal on the vehicle looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Used Cars in Gainesville, FL

Given all the risk associated with buying a flood-damaged car, especially after a heavy hurricane season, it’s always in your best interest to deal with a car seller you can trust. At Paul West Used Cars, we maintain one of the highest quality used-car inventories in Gainesville, FL. Yet, our value isn’t only in the selection and competitive pricing of our vehicles, which are always reliable, but it’s also in the fact that you can contact us anytime with questions about purchasing your next used vehicle. Between our quality vehicles and knowledgeable staff, it’s easy to see why so many drivers trust us when buying a used car.