Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Buying a used car - flooded?
Old 11-02-2007, 08:34 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 292
Buying a used car - flooded?

I just noticed a link that lets you check if a car was totaled due to Katrina flooding. Apparently some are not scrapped and then sold as "used".

Free CARFAX Flood Damaged Car Check

I am not familiar with CarFax but when I verified that the link works it seemed link they make you pay for a full report. This feature is free.

I considered not posting this since it might be constured as trying to sneak in an advertizement, but that is not my intention. If this is not appropriate the moderator can delete my post.
__________________

__________________
joesxm3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 11-02-2007, 08:45 AM   #2
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,919
You definitely don't want a car that was flooded by Katrina. Some people are unscrupulous enough to try to disguise that fact, though I have heard that a good mechanic can tell if it was flooded.

My 2000 Camry Solara, which I left in my driveway when I evacuated with Frank, wasn't flooded. You have no idea how deleriously happy I was when we returned five days later, and I discovered that fact!! It started right up, and no water got inside it or on the floor mats.

Nevertheless, I plan to drive it until it is 10+ years old, and I don't expect to get much for it on the trade-in at that time. I think that any car that was in New Orleans at that time will probably have a lower trade-in value, flooded or not.
__________________

__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 09:01 AM   #3
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,919
OK, just to test it, I entered my VIN. Here's what it tells you:

Vehicle registered in a county declared a flood disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

IMPORTANT! The 8 records on this 2000 TOYOTA CAMRY SOLARA SE may confirm a clean history or uncover potential problems.

Of course, you have to pay to get the 8 records. What I wonder, is what those records could possibly be. I am the sole owner, and the car has never needed any repairs at all. Maybe they just show that it was registered here for each year since I bought it. Certainly there is nothing I can imagine that would "confirm a clean history or uncover potential problems".
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 09:43 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
HFWR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Lawn chair in Texas
Posts: 12,964
Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
Of course, you have to pay to get the 8 records. What I wonder, is what those records could possibly be. I am the sole owner, and the car has never needed any repairs at all. Maybe they just show that it was registered here for each year since I bought it. Certainly there is nothing I can imagine that would "confirm a clean history or uncover potential problems".
For just $189.99, you can get a plaque...
__________________
Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
HFWR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 09:54 AM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
OK, just to test it, I entered my VIN. Here's what it tells you:

Vehicle registered in a county declared a flood disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

IMPORTANT! The 8 records on this 2000 TOYOTA CAMRY SOLARA SE may confirm a clean history or uncover potential problems.

Of course, you have to pay to get the 8 records. What I wonder, is what those records could possibly be. I am the sole owner, and the car has never needed any repairs at all. Maybe they just show that it was registered here for each year since I bought it. Certainly there is nothing I can imagine that would "confirm a clean history or uncover potential problems".
I have not ever bought a carfax, but I think they show all recalls for a car...even if yours was not in the group.


Hmmm... I wonder why we could not get this information for free since they are telling people about a car which might or might not be correct... and it affects the price if they have wrong information... kind of like our credit report.
__________________
Texas Proud is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 09:55 AM   #6
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,919
Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
For just $189.99, you can get a plaque...
ROFL!!! Well, when I trade it in on a new Solara in 2010, even though it will have less than 50,000 miles on it I will probably be lucky to get $189.99 for it.

Oh, I suppose I shouldn't be so pessimistic. Surely dealerships would realize that if it was flooded, I would not have kept it for five more years. One would hope they would figure that out, anyway.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 10:01 AM   #7
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,919
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
I have not ever bought a carfax, but I think they show all recalls for a car...even if yours was not in the group.


Hmmm... I wonder why we could not get this information for free since they are telling people about a car which might or might not be correct... and it affects the price if they have wrong information... kind of like our credit report.
I would be surprised if 2000 Camry Solaras were recalled 8 times in seven and a half years, though. As far as I know, there haven't been any recalls at all.

Yes, I would think that a buyer who didn't want to pay for the full report would look at the free information and refrain from buying my car, for example. Yet it never got even a drop from Katrina. It was parked right next to my house, and slightly higher than the slab on my house - - and my house never got a drop of water inside, either. Yet if I was a buyer, I would not bother to buy the carfax because the news already looks grim from what they tell you for free.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 10:40 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
The records in carfax are usually registration, smog tests, vehicle taxes paid, major insurance claims/totals/retitling/etc.

By looking at these and seeing that a vehicle was registered "not in use on the road", or that it had been totaled and retitled would be a good clue as to a problem.

I had heard (but have no knowledge regarding the truthfulness, details or frequency) that cars could be scrubbed by moving them around the country or through canada to produce a car with a clean title even though it was 'totaled' in a flood in another state.

Cars bought private sale with an observable local life in a non flood area are probably going to be okay. Cars "off lease", "former rentals", or bought through used car wholesale mills are most suspect.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 10:53 AM   #9
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,919
Quote:
Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
The records in carfax are usually registration, smog tests, vehicle taxes paid, major insurance claims/totals/retitling/etc.

By looking at these and seeing that a vehicle was registered "not in use on the road", or that it had been totaled and retitled would be a good clue as to a problem.

I had heard (but have no knowledge regarding the truthfulness, details or frequency) that cars could be scrubbed by moving them around the country or through canada to produce a car with a clean title even though it was 'totaled' in a flood in another state.

Cars bought private sale with an observable local life in a non flood area are probably going to be okay. Cars "off lease", "former rentals", or bought through used car wholesale mills are most suspect.
OK - - then the 8 records would be registration and vehicle tax when I bought it. I've never had an insurance claim on it, and smog tests are not required here.

Personally I would not buy any car registered in south Louisiana in 2005. That is pretty harsh, but hundreds of thousands of cars were ruined and few were spared in New Orleans. I don't know of anyone who is now driving a car that was flooded - - the flooding cause damage in so many parts of these cars that they were just ruined. It took well over a year before the ruined, deserted cars were removed.

Luckily I am one of the few on the ER forum who like to buy brand new cars from a car dealer rather than used cars. I like the thrill, the luxury, the new car smell, and so on, enough that the extra cost is worth it to me. So, the only way these flooded cars will affect me is in the trade in price for my car.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 11:01 AM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,618
Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
Of course, you have to pay to get the 8 records. What I wonder, is what those records could possibly be. I am the sole owner, and the car has never needed any repairs at all. Maybe they just show that it was registered here for each year since I bought it.
Yep. Any hit to the DMV database, even if it's just a renewal or a change of address/phone number. If something's not reported then it won't show on CarFax, but there's a lot of interesting info there.

We've used CarFax before and spent a bit extra for "unlimited reports for 30 days" or whatever it is now. During our used-car shopping, one had been salvaged (although the title didn't show it), another was a Hertz rental that had moved through five or six states before being sold, and a third was owned by someone other than the "seller". (It turned out that the actual owner was temporarily detained in the local correctional facilities, so his good buddy was attempting to sell the car to help him make bail. That was his story and he was stickin' to it.) I wouldn't even haul my butt out of the recliner to go look at a used car without a VIN and a CarFax report, flawed though CarFax may be.

Once we'd found our replacement car we ran a CarFax report on our old car and printed it out for buyers. Even though it would've been easy to fake, people found it oddly reassuring.

I'm a bit confused by all the fuss over Katrina'd cars. Mold & mildew are pretty hard to disguise-- they're either easy to find or they're not present. If they're present then you're not buying the car no matter what CarFax claims. If it's clean, then someone probably worked very hard to remove it and presumably restore the car to its original condition. Would there be some other damage that wouldn't show up, or would it all have been fixed by a thorough detailing?
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 11:10 AM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
pfpelican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 229
Carfax-es that I've dealt with showed registrations. One showed a Lousiana registration....but was too new to have been in Katrina.

I have a mechanic I trust examine any car I'm considering. Since there was some mud on the bottom of the last one, he examined it for flood evidence.

Here in Houston, that's a good idea.
__________________
Old Guys Rule
pfpelican is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 11:15 AM   #12
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,919
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
I'm a bit confused by all the fuss over Katrina'd cars. Mold & mildew are pretty hard to disguise-- they're either easy to find or they're not present. If they're present then you're not buying the car no matter what CarFax claims. If it's clean, then someone probably worked very hard to remove it and presumably restore the car to its original condition. Would there be some other damage that wouldn't show up, or would it all have been fixed by a thorough detailing?
I'm not a car-savvy person, so I can't come up with details. However from what I have heard others say, some unscrupulous types have put in enough work to make a Katrina-flooded car look like it was fine, but still didn't put in enough work to replace everything damaged in it. And basically, everything was damaged because these flood waters were highly corrosive and yucky and cars sat in the waters for a couple of weeks or so. This is not just a mold/mildew situation. Yes, there could be some damage that wouldn't show up, unless your mechanic really looked closely. Usually all it takes is lifting up the carpet but sometimes a closer look is needed.

I haven't heard anybody complaining about Katrina-damaged used parts. I would think that would be a bigger problem. But then, maybe you can see the damage when the part in question is in your hand.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 12:10 PM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 207
We got hip high flood water on our local government garage site in 1994 and were not able to remove all the cars. So a bunch got wet. So did our offices, etc. We looked pretty odd for about a month. Every car had to have the seats, carpet and carpet padding removed, hung up and dried. We looked like a buffalo hunter's camp with all those carpets and pads drapped over anything that would hold something. And believe me, it is hard to "air-dry" things like that in Savannah with 90% humidity in the summer time.

Then there were all the office files. Imagine tiny little clothes lines with hundreds of little white clothes hanging on them. It was pretty funny but it was all we could do.

We got the car's interiors and apholsteries dried and cleaned, but the resulting mechanical and electrical problems killed us. The flooding was "brackish" (not salt but not fresh either). Electrical connecters corroded and failed left and right. With so much computer control these electrical failures pretty well doomed the vehicles. Pretty much every not-sealed component failed within the next 3-4 months (electric windors, starters, alternators, lights, AC). The transmissions were contaminated and began to fail even after multiple flushing. Within a year, all these cars were out of our inventory as total losses.

From that experience we learned to just go ahead and "total" immersed cars as policy, rather than try to retain and repair them. Maybe you could start over, take it down to the the frame and rebuild it, but it's just not worth it.
__________________
Can eat with either hand.
Joss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 01:10 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,284
As Joss had said, the electrical is the big problem... it is in the connectors and such and will cause lots of shorts etc.. no good way to get it fixed which is why they are 'totaled'...

W2R... there could be recalls you are not aware... I have a 2004 Acura and there are a number of recalls... one major for auto transmission oiling problems... but for mine it was the seat memory module. I have heard there was a recall for only a few thousand for some other minor issue... not all recalls are major problems.
__________________
Texas Proud is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2007, 04:43 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,323
I purchased 2 years ago a good looking, clean used 2000 Camry Solara V6 with 107,000 miles for my son. He has had few problems (and we got two fixed up front by the dealer) and has had the car for over 2 years now.
Since I do not know cars, I neurotically checked details and had a game plan for looking before purchasing. But I think I did okay for $8,700.

Here are all the sources:

1. CarFax.com ($25 a month, sign up for a month only)
2. ConsumerReports.org ($5 a month, sign up for a month only)
(The rest are all FREE
3. epinions.com use the used car search
4. fueleconomy.gov
5. BBB: Search (check the dealer at the BBB)
6. Car information, new car prices, used car values, used car reviews, new car reviews - MSN Autos (great site where pros and non-pros write comments.)
7. ambest.com (check company ratings for insurance etc.)

AND last, take that car in to a reliable mechanic to check over BEFORE you buy it. The dealer let us take it for the day to have it checked elsewhere, which cost something less than $100. He found one thing, about 3 weeks after buying the car the red light went on and the dealer fixed that, also. I called them back, they called the previous owner to see if that problem had ever occurred with him before (it had not), but fixed it, anyway.

Personally, because my son lost $2,000 buying a car that lasted 2 months (yes!) that he purchased from a lying con man, I was realllly cautious about this whole process. Naturally, he lost the entire car and money. I would NEVER buy any used auto again EXCEPT from a reputable dealer, myself.

When you don't know cars, like I don't, it pays to be overdetailed and paranoid, I think.
The old better safe than sorry Grandma told you about...

***Be aware that flooding in Texas and other States goes on all the time, and not just Katrina, and they often send cars UP NORTH for dumb Yankees like me to buy. Buyer Beware! I would ONLY buy a car from a State that doesn't flood, and ours came from Iowa.
__________________
Orchidflower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2007, 12:41 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,323
Want2retire: Do you not see those CarFax commercials in your area that advertise showing a car totally flooding out and being drug away on a tow truck. Someone is supposedly typing an ad that says something like "Water damage" then they backspace it and it comes out "New upholstery" or somesuch. I am in Northwestern Illinois at the Iowa border. They run them up here all the time.
__________________

__________________
Orchidflower is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Talk me out of buying another 'fun' car!!! thefed Other topics 30 09-15-2007 05:47 PM
Car Buying Choice cantlogin Other topics 13 08-03-2007 12:57 PM
Advice on buying a used car RedHawk Other topics 20 02-12-2007 07:28 PM
Any One Buying? Maximillion FIRE and Money 30 05-20-2006 05:35 PM
Financing a car/car buying advice usc_et Young Dreamers 14 11-01-2005 11:59 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:03 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.