Flood-Damaged Cars: Should You Buy & How to Sell

Flood Damaged Cars: Should you buy one?

Many people across the UK have recently suffered the effects of flooding in their local areas which has damaged their homes, swamped their gardens and affected their working lives. In areas where water levels raised particularly high, extensive flood damage has occurred to cars and other vehicles, in many cases rendering them unusable.

Should You Buy A Flood-Damaged Car?

Aesthetically, flood-damaged cars can be cleaned and restored to a very high standard, in many cases the car can be left looking almost new. However this isn’t to say that all is well when it comes to the core mechanics of the car; there is often risk involved with purchasing a car that has had prior flood damage.

Here are a few important things to keep in mind when considering buying a car with a watery past!

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How Deeply Was The Car Submerged?

If the water didn’t raise high enough to cause issues with the car’s electronics, the issues may be limited to rust and corrosion. While this can be a costly endeavour to repair and respray, the car may well be able to function as usual without any operational problems.

Alternatively if the car was more deeply submerged, issues with the vehicle’s electronics could arise down the line, even if they don’t seem apparent right now.

What Type of Water Submerged The Car?

While rainwater and freshwater can certainly have a damaging effect on a vehicle during a flood, saltwater causes much more aggressive and fast-acting corrosion and rust. This is worth keeping in mind if the flood damage is recent, and the car is in an un-restored state.

If the water is considerably muddy, you can expect more extreme damage to the sponge and upholstery in the car that will most likely need fully replacing, which could be an extra cost to consider.

How Long Was The Car Submerged?

The longer the water was flooding the car, the greater the damage will ultimately be; a simple thing to keep in mind, but worth thinking about nonetheless.

Does The Vehicle Carry A ‘Salvage’ or ‘Flood’ Stamp?

If the vehicle carries either of these, it means the car was once considered to be beyond repair (be it from an insurance company, bank or owner). Unless a very large amount of time and money has been spent on restoring and repairing the vehicle, you should expect to have issues operating the vehicle in the future.

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How Long Are You Looking To Own The Car?

If the purchase of a flood-damaged car is a solution to a short-term problem then it may be the answer for you. If you’re looking to pick up a car for cheap, just to get you from A to B on short journeys over a short period of time, a car with flood damage could hold up long enough to serve its purpose until you can find something with a clearer history.

How Much Is The Car On Sale For?

A car with flood damage should usually be on sale at a price well below market value. If the seller or dealership can prove that extensive work has been carried out to repair and restore the vehicle, you could then expect the value to increase, but without such proof you should expect a low price for the car.

The reason for this is that you are assuming there is a risk that further repairs will need to be carried out, incurring further cost to you in future. With this in mind, don’t pay more for the car than you would should the worst case scenario occur (e.g. all electronics and engine requires extensive repair or replacement).

Furthermore, in a car that has flood damage, the manufacturer’s warranty is typically voided.

Will You Be Selling The Vehicle?

If you are considering buying a car with flood damage, consider whether or not you are thinking about selling the car in the near future.

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You may have some difficulty finding a buyer for a car that has flood damage in its past, and without proof that you have spent a lot of time and money restoring the vehicle, you may spend even more cash on advertising the car for sale to no avail.

At We Buy Any Car, we’re happy to buy any vehicle for a fair and competitive price. If you’re looking to sell a flood damaged car without the tons of hassle that comes with it, come along to your nearest branch to see one of our car experts for a car valuation!

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With a passion for great content and all things vehicular, Daniel combines his interests to update our blog with the latest and greatest motoring news.