Beware When Buying Used Pickups for a While

Flooded pickup II

Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage up and down the East Coast, and according to some sources, that will make a big impact on the supply of used vehicles (going up as much as $1,000 per vehicle) and the likelihood that the used vehicle you want to buy may be water damaged. Bringing back a water-damaged vehicle is not impossible, but it does mean there could be significant issues down the road. 

Some estimates put it at close to 250,000 vehicles affected, a good number of which were destroyed by the storm. If you are in the market for a used pickup over the next several months or years, whether on the East Coast or not, there is a chance the vehicle you're looking at has water or Sandy damage. 

Of course, just because a vehicle is from the East Coast is not the only reason to suspect there could be water damage. According to our friends at KickingTires.com, there are some quick and easy ways to identify if the truck you are looking at could be a vehicle that suffered flood damage. Some are pretty obvious, but the key is to keep your eyes on several key areas. 

Flooded pickup 2 II

 

Comments

How to restore Chevy after Hurricane Flood Damage: Open windows, let dy out, start her up and drive her for another 500K... LIKE A ROCK! And thats why chevy's are the most dependable, longest lasting trucks on the Road...

yea ok Jason! but it realy does sound like a taco commercial! but there are four words to use when buying used, "show me the carfax!"

If you're mechanically inclined, open the air box or remove the intake ductwork and peek inside, it's nearly impossible to clean that up to look like new.

First of all, good job warning consumers. There are going to be tens of thousands of flood-damaged trucks working their way onto less-than-upstanding dealers across the USA for the next 6 months or so.

Next, if you're worried about buying one of these trucks, the best tip I can give is to use your nose...a tip that - amazingly - the experts at Kicking Tires didn't think to mention.

Flood damage allows mold and bacteria to grow in places where it wouldn't normally be found, and no amount of Febreeze can remove the smell of this stuff entirely.

Therefore, if you're worried about flood damage, start smelling the floorboards. It will look funny, but it's a nearly fool-proof way to find a car that's been underwater.

Chevy. Like a Rock. (Rocks can't move on their own power).

Anything besides a RAM that is flooded out is doomed. They need to go straight to the scrap yard. With the RAM all you need to do is let it dry out, replace the fluids, and you are good to go.

GUTS
GLORY
IMMUNE TO FLOOD DAMAGE
RAM

I drove my GMC for well over 100,000 miles. I just had to put a lot of money into it...as you would for other vehicles too.

@AJ,

I personally drive 4500 miles per month,so my personal vehicles get alot of miles,and my Dodge/Chrysler even my Grand Cherokee all lasted over 100,000 miles with only tires,oil changes/brake pads/rotors.

I have a small business ,with family members and in the last few years I am in charge of vehicles (buying,repairing)and have many vehicles and drivers.We had a large fleet of Toyota/Honda (nightmares need major repairs when the miles add up even at low mi dealer did lots of work)

I can go on and give copies of all the service work,but I would need my own blog.

My experience,I only had 1 Mopar over the years that needed a heatercore at 80,000 miles (its always on except for July/Aug maybe)I didnt even do wheel bearings on Chrysler products at all 1 RAM needed that at 125,000mi our Toyota/Honda needed them around 75,000 mi.I had a 3.5 L Charger in my fleet that needed a waterpump at 95,000 miles worst case problem we had for a chrysler product over the years (Toyota's have a major recall and leak when new)

I have 9 Mopars now in my fleet and all are driven from 3000-6500 miles per month ! We have a 08 Avenger right now with 168,000 miles and we only did a c.v joint change and spark plugs.We had/have Toyota's Ford's GM's and never get an import again those just are too expensive and need repairs all the time with more miles.

We still have a 09 Fusion with 140,000 mi and we just rebuilt the trans and head gasket.A 2011 GMC Savana with 70,000 needed nothing(tires/brakes/gas/oil/washes),as does our 2012 GMC Savana with 4000 mi needed nothing.A 07 impala that hit a deer,but we did a alt/axles/trans around 130,000.Slight tick in motor when cold but we just kept it for local ,the higher miler cars we keep for younger/newer drivers.

Even my old personal 60's cars (mopars)when I drove them rolled over many times with less work than a modern Import,those older cars never needed anything 99,999 and back to 0,over and over and over ! They all have few - several hunder thousand miles on them,no 20,000 as they claim at auctions.

GUTS
GLORY
NO FLOOD DAMAGE
RAM

Hey! I gots a 1990 Ford F-150 5.0L V8! Now selling for $10K. Not even close to the flooding!

What about Toyota Tundrown It`s good for a truck who rust faster than a Lada

GUTS
GLORY
WATERED DOWN JUNK
RAM

I got news for some of you fanboys you get enough water like the first picture above you do not want to drive it regardless of brand and regardless of drying out. Any vehicle sitting in that much water for several days is junk. Any water up to the floor boards is ruined.

My dad once bought a 59 Buick LeSabre station wagon that had been sitting in water from a hurricane. The car had transmission problems and electrical problems and it had rust inside the doors and smelled musty. The car at the time was 2 years old and he bought it after a Hurricane Carla hit Galveston. I would not touch any vehicle that has been in a flood, water goes into places you cannot clean.

This is just a thought, but has anyone seen that snorkle on oxi's taco? just how in the world is that going to help? I mean if he goes into any water even half as deep as that thing is high, sure the engine (in theory) could breath, but what about all the electrics? When I was in the U.S.Army, we had what they called fording kits for the vehicles, on the 21/2t trucks we had an exhaust stack, a snorkle, and an air preasure line that would go to the bellhousing to preasurize it, so the clutch would not get wet, and all the military vehicles have water proof ing, and wiring, but even so, it the vehicle was subjected to deep water, the first thing that had to be done, is all fluids were changed, ASAP! the only thing that does on oxi's taco is add a little resisitance for the air intake track! but can you imagine what would happen if say he went in water up to the dashbord? SHOW ME THE CARFAX!!!!!

@jason - Like a Rock? That Chevy is floating. It didn't sink like a rock ;)

@High Miler Club - it seems to me that Consumer Reports, JD Power and Vincentric disagree with you.
http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2012/11/cost-of-ownership-pickup-class-leaders.html#more
http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2012/10/ford-is-hammered-in-cr-reliability-survey.html#more

My brother drives similar miles to your 4,000 miles per month and the Rams fall apart just as quick as the other brands. The Chevy's look more beat up than the Ford or Ram. Drivetrains hold up about the same.
The difference is that his trucks spend most of their very short lives off of paved roads. They all get extremely expensive to run past 50-60,000 miles.

@Jason- Pfffttt. One of those tinfoil body Chevy's would be worthless from rushing water alone. Talk about body damage not worth fixing. And good luck getting the mud, water and slime out of those rear drums and ever getting them to work like new again. Not to mention, Chevy doesn't paint their frames so you'll have severe corrosion again there. They start rusting within a year from being new Without the flooding. I wouldn't want one of those frames that had been submerged. Both Ford and Dodge trucks would fare far better in an enviroment like that. Sturdier bodies, painted frames and disc brakes all around.

And the interior in a Chevy truck isn't worth saving in the first place.

@Jason- Pfffttt. One of those tinfoil body Chevy's would be worthless from rushing water alone. Talk about body damage not worth fixing. And good luck getting the mud, water and slime out of those rear drums and ever getting them to work like new again. Not to mention, Chevy doesn't paint their frames so you'll have severe corrosion again there. They start rusting within a year from being new Without the flooding. I wouldn't want one of those frames that had been submerged. Both Ford and Dodge trucks would fare far better in an enviroment like that. Sturdier bodies, painted frames and disc brakes all around.

And the interior in a Chevy truck isn't worth saving in the first place.


-Truth. I'm hoping the new Silverado fixes All of those above mentioned issues. These last couple of Chevrolet trucks have been junkers. The 900 being the worst IMO.

Here is a nasty bit of news in relation to the storm:
"New York City Police say that some tow truck drivers are trying to profit off of cars damaged in the storm.

Undercover officers with the NYPD's auto crime division stopped the driver of an out-of-state tow truck to make sure he had the right paperwork and that he was there to do the job he was contracted for.

It's one of the many daily stops they'll make in the Rockaways area -- where cars were tossed around like toys during the superstorm.

Many of the cars will have to by totalled, but the NYPD is concerned about unscrupulous tow truck operators stealing the cars before insurance companies can get to them.

According to local sources, a tow truck driver can get as much as $500 per vehicle brought into the junkyard.

Deputy Inspector Joseph Kenny says some tow truck drivers are pretending they're contracted by the city and are scamming storm victims by holding their vehicles hostage.

So far, police have arrested four unlicensed tow truck operators -- and they're on the lookout for more."
http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/storm_watch_stories3&stormfile=New_York__Illegal_towing_of_Sandy_victims__cars_19_11_2012?ref=ccbox_weather_topstories

Why stop at the smell? Just take it one step further like I do-get on your knees and look under the car.

A "religious" group opened up a repair shop and used car dealership in my town a few years ago and was selling plenty of used cars for cheap prices. The sales manager was trying to convince me to purchase a reasonably-priced 1997 Subaru Outback, clean with only 35,000 miles. When I looked under the bottom, I noticed it was painted black-the undercarriage, the driveshaft, the brakes, shocks, wiring, mud, and rust. I then looked at the other cars too and most of them were treated the same way. So I asked questions and the guy got nervous and nearly lost his cool. Soon after that, most of the customers who had bought cars from them came back with complaints of the funny black coating unde he cars and finding bad rust spots and damage. The dealer soon went out of business, and the "church" later losed its doors and left town.

Most of these cars were pulled from floods and were rebuilt wrecks and should not been allowed back on the road. In fact, any rebuilt salvage car sold in Alabama must have the official state salvage plate attached to the car, and none of these did.

There are states that will re-title a vehicle that does'nt have salvage anywhere on it. Carfax won't show these as salvage titles. This is a used car dealer trick.
Buyer beware.
The best way to quickly see if a car has been submerged is to look at the seat cushions from the underside with a mirror and flashlight. Con artist's don't spend money replacing interiors and you can't get the telltale signs out of the porus foam of the cushions.

@high miler... You hace some nice stories but the reality is the usage scenarios you provide aren't really accurate to true high mileage use. You put 4000 miles a month on a truck and in 3 years you have over 100k and the parts themselves are not that old (or engine seals electrical components etc.). Those are the things that become a nightmare on a true high miler like a 12yr old farm truck (mine) with 170k on the clock. I honestly would be shocked if under your conditions stated if you did have to change anything other than brakes and misc wear items etc. after 3 years you still have what is essentially a brand new vehicle just well broken in, that says nothing about a brand really. Heap that kind of use on a truck 4 times as old and if it doesn't break then you can start bragging.

Yeah. How many people really put 4,000 miles a month on a pickup truck if they aren't a professional hauler? That number is unrealistic to the average driver. I'll admit I'm almost the exact opposite, barely putting 100 miles per month on my truck, but mine is a 1990 survivor that's still in remarkable condition for its age and current operating region. Looking at it, you might think it lived most of its life in desert country as there is almost no rust worth mentioning and literally no rust penetration in the lower body or wheel wells.

This whole article is, however, about the flood of effectively junk vehicles--cars and trucks--soon to hit the used-car market. They're going to glut the market with vehicles guaranteed to fall apart before they're paid for (unless you paid cash or unless you keep them in a warm, dry environment--like the desert.)



Post a Comment

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
  • Your email will not be shown.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Home | Buy or Sell a Truck | News | Special Reports

Powered by Cars.com. By using this site, you agree to our terms of service | © 2011 Cars.com | Privacy Statement | Contact Us

Visit our partner: MovingTruck.com