A warning before you buy your next used car. There are a lot of waterlogged vehicles that are drying out right now after last month’s record flooding across the country. Those could end up on used car lots looking like new.
But there is a way around getting stuck with a rusted lemon, if you know the signs.
First off, don’t judge a car by it’s body.
Mechanic Daniel Stepp with Cottman Transmission in Spartanburg put a Lincoln Navigator on the lift that “at first glance you look at the car and it looks great,” said Stepp.
“You get up underneath it, and it looks like you pulled it out of the ocean. I mean, it’s, it’s just falling apart. Everything’s just completely rusted.”
Stepp says one of the most dangerous places for rust is the break and suspension area. If you see that, there’s a good chance the car was submerged.
Getting a mechanic to check out the underside is the key if you really want to be sure a car doesn’t have water damage.
If you can’t get underneath, at least check around the wheel well. This bubbling indicates that rust has been painted over. Also, check inside to see if there’s a new black coding that covers more problem spots.
Then open the car door and look for mismatched paint and water lines. A wet floor board can ruin your whole electric system.
Once it goes bad you’ll just have wiring problem after wiring problem,” said Thomas McDade with Cottman Transmission.
“Check underneath your carpet, move your panel and then pull it back to see if you see any water rust or deterioration,” he said.
The more thorough, the better. Your money and your safety are riding on it.