Buying A Flood Damaged Car
With all the irregular weather patterns that have happened recently with flooding being especially bad in certain areas of the UK, many salvage yards now have a fair share of flood damaged cars ready to sell off on behalf of the insurance companies. So for some, asking the question is it worth buying one of these salvage projects, what could go wrong?
Electronics Need Testing
Let's start with what makes a modern vehicle different to that of 30 years ago, the internal electronic system. ECU's are the control units which are unique to each vehicle on the road and clearly adding water to these electronic components will not be good news. Being able to re-programme replacement units is also a specialist job, where the right equipment is needed to do so. In fact being able to track down what electrical or electronic fault the vehicle now has, is in itself quite a specialist job and the cost of replacement parts and specialist labour make any repair uneconomical.
Water In The Engine
The power plant or the engine may have serious issues if water has been able to enter the block or oil. It would always be advisable to completely drain all oil and then replace, gradually turning the engine to ensure all parts are moving, before any initial start up. Buying the car from a salvage auction, may limit how much testing you can do to the vehicle, so engines concerns may just be too much of a risk.
Obviously corrosion is likely to be a concern, when water lies on bare metal. This is only likely to be an issue from the inside of the car. A shell or chassis being emerged in water for a few days and then dried out is unlikely to do so much damage to make the vehicle unsafe. Buy in areas, where the water has laid for months waiting for the insurance process to complete is a completely different matter. Areas such as under carpets or within roof linings could raise problems.
A Damp Interior
The smell of an interior may be impossible to remove if water and any waste has seeped into seats like dish water on a sponge. even if the water has dried away those dirty deposits could still be in there, delivering a permanent smell. Of course this process can also rot away foam and other material products. The cost to replace an interior can be expensive especially where leather is involved.
So the question to whether buying a flood damaged car is a good one, all depends on how well that buyer knows the vehicle concerned. Not having the option to turn the engine, connect diagnostic machines, or sit inside the vehicle or look under the bonnet, increases the risk of the investment and only should be considered, if those tests can take place. Most flood damage salvage vehicles will end up in breaker yards where all parts will be stripped and sold off.