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The Indian City of Mumbai recently experienced flooding due to heavy torrential downpour, and images of many cars being left out on the road and in parking spots with the water level sometimes completely submerging the windscreen were commonplace. It was a much worser scene at Chennai nearly two years ago when the city was flooded.
One thing that is very clear in memory is how cars from Chennai were being sold at dirt cheap prices, attracting buyers from other parts of Southern India. Well, with the Mumbai floods receding, a similar move can be expected again. But should you buy cars damaged in the flood? And do you know how to check if a car has been damaged in the flood? Well, here are a few tips to help you out.
Should you purchase flood-damaged cars at cheap prices?
If you intend on holding onto the car for a long period of time, in one word, No! Truth be told, it really depends on how much of water had flooded the car, but generally it is better to stay away. However, if one intends to keep the car for a short period of time, or is ready to spend lots of time and money in restoring the car, then it is worth buying these cars at dirt cheap prices.
There are quite a few people who would not want to spend money or time on restoring their car to its former glory after it has been damaged in an incident like this. It is those kind of people who sell their cars off at low prices and then go and look at a new car.
However, there are also a few people who want to dispose of their cars, but try to be clever and do not disclose to the buyers that the car was damaged in a flood. If you are looking to purchase a car in the aftermath of a flood, here are a few tips for you, to ensure that you are not duped by the seller.
How to spot hidden flood damage on a used car you are looking at purchasing:
Dampness or Moisture in the car:
If some part of your car feels damp or moist, it most likely would mean that the car was flooded even of the dealer tells you that the moisture is just from a car wash. Areas to look for such moisture in are, the seats, the seat tracks, under the carpets or even inside the boot. Moisture also builds up under the glass of the headlamp or tail lamp cluster if it has been standing in water.
Once rain water gets inside a car, and the seat soaks it up, it will invariably leave behind a smell. No matter how much fabric freshener, leather polish and conditioners are used to clean it up, it will for a few weeks have that stench deep down. This can be felt only when you get your nose real close to the fabric.
People looking to resell cars damaged in floods and in an attempt to do so, they might re-do some of the interior with new materials to cover up the damage. However, more often than not, a few spots would be left out, and some shabby cuts and stitches act as giveaways.
Excessive rust: Cars in coastal regions are bound to have some amount of rust on them, and this remains true for both Mumbai and Chennai. However, if there is a significantly higher amount of rust, higher than usual, then there are all reasons to worry.
The ideal place to look for flooding-induced rusting under the dashboard, near the grounding points and connection points for wires. These spots are not prone to rust from use in the coastal areas but can rust only if it was submerged in water, meaning, the car was flooded. Yet another spot to look for rust and left over water and moisture is, in the boot, underneath the spare tyre.
Mechanical Damage Caused By Floods:
If the car's engine was running while it flooded, there are chances that the engine would have ingested the water. This would have led to the engine shutting down, and in extreme cases, it would have led to engine seizure. This of course can be repaired completely, and cannot really be tracked.
It pays to be aware of these facts before purchasing a used car, or even a new car for that matter, as dealership stockyards too can get flooded. It s important to remember that, even if your area was not affected by floods, a car that was in the flooded area can still turn up for sale in your area.