Water damage is never a good thing, whether it be a house, a cell phone, or something else of high economic value. When it comes to your car, the same principle applies. Continue reading to learn more about vehicular water damage, including your options for resale and how to get started.
Water damage can greatly affect the resale value of a vehicle, especially if essential components no longer operate properly as a result. The extent of water damage plays a large role in the overall effect it has on value. For instance, if you spill a cup of water on your dashboard, it may cause defects in the built-in navigation system or computer board, which ultimately lowers the vehicle’s value; but if you drive into a pond, the damage can render a car totaled by the insurance company.
A car that has been entirely (or mostly) submerged under water is not likely to come back to a safe and operational condition. You see, automotive engines are not designed to withstand water submergence or flooding, with the exception of specialty aquatic vehicles. Flooding the engine will cause irreversible damage to the drivetrain, starter, and much more. Even if you let it dry out before starting it, the damage is already done and it is too late to fix. Furthermore, major automotive parts like motors and catalytic converters are very expensive to replace, which is why most vehicles are labeled as “totaled” by insurance companies when their engine no longer runs.
Various other car parts can experience problems from water damage. For example, anything made of metal will rust, which leads to accelerated corrosion. Also, any electrical components will not be repairable after being submerged or damaged by water.
In addition to motors, converters, and similar critical car parts, flooding will also cause extensive damage to the interior upholstered components in a vehicle. Anything upholstered with fabric or leather will develop a musty smell as a result of stagnant water and mold growth. It could be resolved with an intensive upholstery cleaning and conditioning, but it is very unlikely that the damage will reverse entirely.
Selling a Flooded Vehicle
You can sell a car that has been flooded or submerged in water under a few conditions. The most important and influential condition is that you are 100% honest. You have to understand that a vehicle that has incurred such damage will likely be considered totaled since the cost to repair it back to industry standards would exceed the cost of the current market value. So as long as you are honest about the extent of damage the vehicle has incurred, you can lawfully sell it without being criminalized for fraud. Just keep in mind that you will not get as much money in return.
The other condition has to do with your car insurance company. You need to ensure that the title and paperwork for the vehicle is adjusted correctly to show the water damage and current value. If you alter the car title to make it appear clean, you can faced fraud charges.
How to Get the Best Deal for a Totaled Car
You can sell a water-damaged or totaled car to an individual buyer by listing it for sale in a local ad or directory, but this may not get you the most money. With such damage, it will be difficult to challenge a potential buyer’s offer and negotiations. But if you sell to a professional junk car buyer, you will get a fair deal for the value of your vehicle. They retain specialized equipment like electronic weight scales and XRF metal analyzers that accurately detect the worth of a vehicle. They couple their findings with the current economic values of metal, and then pay out cash on the spot regardless of a vehicle’s age or condition.