Buyer Beware: Used car Market Could Get Flooded with Salvaged Vehicles Print
Friday, June 24, 2016 08:07 AM

Buyer Beware: Used car Market Could Get Flooded with Salvaged Vehicles

If you are in the auto repair or parts business people do single you out for advice. Sometimes your loyal customers value your professional opinion so highly, they may bring vehicles to you for evaluation. Other times you might just want to help someone even a stranger make a terrible car or truck buying decision. Keep the following tips from

Extreme weather this spring has left tens of thousands of vehicles scrapped due to flood damage. In Houston, as many as 40,000 vehicles were reported lost due to flood damage. In early June 11 counties in Texas were declared a disaster area due to flooding. Similar flooding has spanned the country from Virginia to Washington.

Meanwhile, the used car market, which could see as many as a record-breaking 40 million cars sold this year, more than double the new car segment, continues to grow.

"The combination of a growing used car market and the potential of a surge in salvaged vehicles in the hands of unscrupulous sellers could leave consumers ripped off," said Scott Burgess, analyst at "It's essential that every consumer know their car's history before they buy it, not after."

Vehicles get scrapped for a number of reasons ranging from an accident to vandalism. Most states consider salvaged vehicles roadworthy after it passes a safety inspection and issues a Salvage Rebuilt title. They come with a low price tag compared to similar vehicles. While they can potentially be an inexpensive purchase, many have become notorious for continual problems.

"Flood damaged cars may not show exterior signs of damage but they often come with a plague of problems ranging from electrical issues to parts seizing under stress," Burgess said. "Because consumers can now search the globe for the perfect vehicle, they run a greater risk of being lured into a deal that could devastate them and their family." offers a free service to examine a car's history and see if a car has ever been issued a salvage title.

Spotting Flood Damage

  • Look for rust in odd places; under the floor mats or in the trunk.
  • If a price for one vehicle is extremely low, ask why?
  • Look for a mildew smell in the interior, under the carpet.
  • Use's free service to check if the vehicle has been salvaged.
  • If buying a salvaged vehicle, have it thoroughly inspected before buying it. is a data driven website dedicated to helping consumers with free information in the used car market.