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How to Avoid Buying Flood Damaged Used Vehicles

Buying a used car is smart. For many people, it fits into their budget better than purchasing a new car. But the used car market is fraught with pitfalls; more so now than ever. The best way to protect yourself is to purchase a car through the Toyota Certified Used Vehicle Program available from your Toyota Dealer.

Vehicles Damaged by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma are flooding the market.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated much of the southern US. In the wake of their destruction, thousands of automobiles were trapped in floodwaters. Many of these vehicles are now making their way onto the used car market. Often, these vehicles get cleaned up and shipped out-of-state for sale to unsuspecting customers. While there are tools like Carfax to help you find “clean” cars, these tools are far from perfect. 

Vehicles damaged by the hurricanes come with a host of problems. Most notable among them is flood damage. Sitting in standing water will damage the vehicle’s electrical system, foul fluid tanks and hydraulic systems, and damage upholstery. With many of these cars from coastal states like Florida, Louisiana and Texas, salt water damage is a significant concern. Advanced rates of rust and corrosion will occur, eating away at the vehicle’s body and components. This may not show up for months or years after the event.

While these cars should receive a flood title, which means the engine block of the car was submerged in standing water; this does not always happen. Unscrupulous dealers and people selling cars person-to-person can hide the defects with paint, disinfectants and cleaners, and simple reconditioning tactics. Without professional support, it is easy to be caught unawares.

Avoid buying a hurricane damaged vehicle

The best way to protect yourself from getting stuck with a water-damaged vehicle is to buy a used car from a Toyota dealer. Such vehicles are quickly weeded out by the 160-point inspection required of every car entering the Toyota Certified Used Vehicle (TCVU) Program, as well as the history report provided by Carfax. Only quality used vehicles get the Toyota certification. Cars, trucks and other vehicles must be six years or less to be considered for the program. Additionally, the vehicle must have an odometer reading of 85,000 or fewer miles.

Toyota Certified Used Vehicle Program Benefits

All Toyota Certified Used Vehicles are covered in the following manner:

  • Limited Comprehensive Warranty for 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Powertrain is warrantied for 7 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Roadside Assistance for a full year
  • Toyota Dealer coverage available from 1,400-plus locations in the U.S. and Canada.