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Transmission News & Tips: Avoid Buying a Flood-Damaged Car

Automobile consumers may want to add hurricane and water damage to the list of things to look for when purchasing a used car. Of the approximately 2 million vehicles in the Gulf Coast region, it’s estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 automobiles were severely damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It’s unclear how many of these flood-damaged cars could potentially end up being parted out and ending up in a recycle yard, or cars being repaired and resold throughout the U.S.

Vehicles that have been under water can have serious mechanical or electrical problems with the transmissions, which is one of the most expensive parts of the car, that may not be immediately evident. Unethical sellers may attempt to erase the physical evidence of flood damage or hide a car’s flood history by moving it through a state that doesn’t require this information to be recorded on the title.

According to CARFAX, there are a number of things consumers can look for to avoid buying a waterlogged vehicle unknowingly:

* Inspect the interior: Check the trunk, glove compartment and other storage areas, dashboard and underneath the seats for signs of sand, mud, moisture or rust. Check for frayed or cracked wires underneath the dashboard, and make sure all the gauges work.
* Examine the interior fabric: Look closely at the upholstery and carpeting — if it doesn’t match the interior or fit properly, it may have been replaced. Discolored, faded or stained fabric may indicate water damage.
* Test electrical components: Test the interior and exterior lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, stereo, windows, mirrors, seats and cigarette lighter.
* Try the heater and air conditioner: Make sure both the heater and air conditioner work. While the A/C is on, check for musty odors.
* Have the car inspected: Visit a trusted mechanic for an inspection before you purchase any vehicle

In cases where the cars transmission has been compromised with water and a need for a used transmission may be in the near future, it may be hard to detect. Always run a CarFax report on any car, new or used that has been through a flood or hurricane. It may save a really messy situation, because automatic transmissions are very water sensitive, so all the doctoring in the world can’t stop a pre-mature failure. Remember: all of the above problems that can show up down the road and leave you in a vulnerable spot.

My advise is to stay away from flood or hurricane damaged cars. The potential for any or all the above issues to come true is to great, and makes the car an expensive investment too. However if you have one of these cars and need a replacement transmission for it, GotTransmissions.com has a CarFax report issued for every transmission they sell, used, rebuilt, remanufactured and especially good used transmissions (We want to know the used transmission is not a flood victim). Call @ 866-320-1182.

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