used car.jpg Hurricane season is winding down, but not quite done yet. Every year, cars are a visible victim of flood waters, high winds, and pelting hail. Those who just drove a new jeep off the dealership lot may be feeling confident that their off-roading baby can make it through some stormy weather, no problem. But when are storm conditions too much for the toughest of cars, and what happens to these ill-fated vehicles?

How Much Is Too Much?

Up to six inches of water can stall a car or cause the driver to lose control, and up to a foot of water will send most vehicles floating. Even the heaviest of Rams and most lifted light trucks won't stand up to two feet of water. Your vehicle will be swept away fairly easily, hopefully without you or loved ones inside it. If a storm is brewing near you that seems like it will be dumping a bunch of rain in a small amount of time, don't go out driving yet. Flash flooding can easily topple the most capable vehicle.

Beware of Flooded Cars

After storms, consumers may be unaware that disreputable used car dealers across the country will buy some of the flooded cars. After a cursory cleaning, they will pass them off as being in good condition and try to sell them to unaware buyers who think they're getting a great deal. This is a terrible mistake. Flooded cars, even ones that appear to be in good condition, could have awful defects pop up later without proper repair work. Even essential systems like the airbags could be affected.

That being said, reputable used car dealers may take these cars and attempt to sell them, but with transparency. They will advertise that it is a previously flooded car. Buyers then know WHY it's such a low price because the car will possibly need a substantial amount of work. if you want to know more details about recognizing signs of a flooded car, Consumer Reports has a very informative article here.

If your own car is flooded during a storm, you can sell it off as a used car, but consider having it totaled. Many off-roading vehicles and trucks, in particular, have high ground clearance. That does not mean that they're immune to the effects of flood waters, especially if they had to be left for an extended period of time in high waters.

Basically, don't underestimate the power of a storm. If a big storm is coming, evacuate ASAP. If it's too late to evacuate, don't put yourself in danger by driving or wading through flooded streets.
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