There will be more flood damaged vehicles on the used car market as a result of the treacherous weather conditions seen in the UK recently. As a result private buyers need to be on the guard and to know exactly what to look for.
Steve Weston, head of Manheim’s Inspection Services, said: “Manheim trains inspectors to BVRLA standards and performs over 300,000 checks each year. Currently, we are running IMI backed training for sales executives at franchised dealers. One of the rookie mistakes many sales executives make is that they often spend more time looking at body work rather than the interior or mechanics.
“For all intents and purposes, a severely flood-submerged vehicle should be considered as an insurance claim, not simply an opportunity to pass on damaged vehicles to an unsuspecting buyer. If a vehicle has been driven into a serious flood or submerged for a period, water can overcome the intake manifold, causing the engine to hydraulic lock and this may require total replacement. So, if a replacement engine or new steel wheels have been fitted, this could be a clue to its recent past,” advises Weston.e
Other tell-tale signs of a potentially flood-damaged vehicle are apparently random or strangely placed scrapes and dents to the bodywork, which may have resulted from debris carried by fast running water.
To help spot potentially flood-damaged vehicles, Manheim has developed a ten point inspection plan:
Lift the flooring -rust, mould, dampness and/or silt under all carpets and mats are a sign that a vehicle may have taken an early bath
Open the doors -tide marks staining upholstery in a vehicle are possible warning signs
Sitting comfortably- rust on all seat-retaining bolts and seat frames could indicate that a vehicle has been in prolonged contact with water
Lift the bonnet -silt and mud deposits on the engine and associated components is a possible danger sign
Get on your knees -pay attention to any recent surface corrosion and body damage on lower sills and floor pan, including axles and component brackets
Exhausting checks -look at the full exhaust system, sometimes the rear box is changed to disguise flood damage
Time to dash – a combination of intermittent electrical problems, dash warning lights and inoperative electrical components could spell major repair bills for flooded vehicles
In recession – take a good look at internal recesses, including cup holders, ashtrays, cubby holes and door pockets for signs of silt and mud
Fits like a glove -check the glove box manuals, paperwork and information packs – they may show signs of water damage
Sense of smell -while some cars smell damp if they have been deep cleaned, be aware of the ‘atmosphere’ in the car as it could alert you to a flood-damaged vehicle
Weston concludes:”Whilst the number of flood-damaged cars is relatively small, recent freak weather proves the issue is real. You need to be aware of the signs that could cause an unnecessary headache and deal with the issue in a professional,transparent and open manner.”