You need a car and have some cash!
You found a beauty and have enough so you buy her! And she drives like a dream that first day or even week. But then the check engine light comes on and something seems different. You take her in to a shop and you learn this car has been underwater. She has electrical gremlins and the repair will be extensive. But you used all your cash on buying the car. You weren't expecting this! We see this more than we care to admit. Hurricane Harvey was a beast in 2017. An estimated 500K cars were damaged in Hurricane Harvey. Many of these cars end up in auction houses. So how do you protect yourself from buying a car with a lot of problems, like a flood car? We have some tips to help you out!
5 Steps to Take to Before You Buy a Used Car:
Ask for the service records -- we would recommend getting the service history for a used car before you purchase it. You want to look for how often the oil was changed. Was the transmission fluid changed at least once every 3-5 years? Were the spark plugs changed in that time frame? Was an air filter changed at least once a year? Compare the service history to the maintenance table in the owner's manual. Can't find the owner's manual? No worries, you can get the for free online!
Test drive the car. We're not talking about a 3 minute drive around the block. You need to get this baby on the highway, up to highway speeds. You want to drive her in stop and go traffic. Use your senses. What do you see leaking, dripping? What do you hear, thumping, squeaking, clunking, etc. What do you feel driving, vibration, bouncy? What do you smell, musty, eggs, fuel, burning, etc?
Search Google for common complaints for the specific year make and model you are looking to purchase.
Reach up behind the dashboard and feel with your hand and lift up the corner of door sill along the bottom of any door. Do you feel anything sandy-silty like? Do you see rust on the inside of the car in areas? These are indicators of water intrusion.
Finally, if you find a car you like and it passes all four steps above, then call your mechanic to have the vehicle inspected. An expert visual inspection and road test before you purchase will give you more peace of mind. You will get a good idea about the health of the car so you can make a better decision.
Remember this, in our great state, you have no protections on used car purchases. Once you buy it, it is yours. There is no used car lemon law in Arkansas. And of course, we would love to help protect you from a bad buy. We do pre-purchase inspections.
Here are some pictures of a recently inspected car:
Silt evident behind the glove box by the fuse box.
This is under the door sill beside the driver seat.
This is inside the rear bumper cover -- where dirt cannot get without water intrusion.