Buyers beware as flooded cars flood the market

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding has warned prospective car buyers around the State to be wary of vehicles affected by recent flooding in Queensland and New South Wales.


Buyers beware as flooded cars flood the market


Ross Greenwood: Anyway, in the mean time I want to take you to something else. There’s a warning out in the aftermath of the floods in Queensland and also New South Wales. That is, prospective car buyers have got to watch out. Let’s now go to Steve Spalding who is the RACQ Head of Technology or Technical and Safety Policy. Steve, appreciate your time.


Steve Spalding: Good day, evening, Ross.

Ross: Why did you put this warning out?

Steve: Just reminding motorist that if they’re out buying a used car at the moment, with the recent weather event we’ve had, these cars can turn up really anywhere in Australia. So the last thing we want is people going ahead and buying a car that gives them on-going problem.

Ross Greenwood: How would I know whether I’ve got one of these cars?

Steve: That’s the difficult thing because these cars would present just as any other good used cars. It’s really about having those close proper checks. Have someone look at it in detail, but also check the history as well. Do some basic checks, such as looking for evidence of water or mud entry. Even a damp smell in the car can give an indication that there’s a problem.

Ross Greenwood: So if I came to RACQ, the NRMA or the RACV and you did the check, what would you be looking for?

Steve: We’ll be looking for all those things plus more. We’ll be looking for evidence of corrosion, particularly around terminals, electrical connections, the computer connections. Anything that gives an indication this car has been in flood water.

Hail Damaged Cars

Ross Greenwood: I noticed also there’s also a whole bunch of hail damaged cars that hitting the market at the moment. I’m guessing that those cars might go cheap. But is it difficult to get that hail damaged out of those cars?

Steve: It can be. I think you’ve really got to weigh up the total cost of the car because you might think that you’re buying a bargain, but when you add on the cost of repairs to bring it back to a safe and serviceable condition, that’s the real cost of the car. It’s often very much more than what you initially paid for it.

Ross Greenwood: What you’re saying is a car technically could’ve been written off, either in a flood or otherwise by hail damage, it’s then put on back on the market and you could ultimately buy a car that have previously been written off by an insurer?

Steve: Possibly. But you can also buy one that’s been simply passed on by the existing owner. Maybe because they didn’t have adequate insurance and they just taken the view it’s better to get rid of the car and trying on pass it on to somebody else.

Private Sale vs Car Dealership

Ross Greenwood: Do you think it is better, under this circumstances, to be buying from a dealer? Obviously, private sale is going to be always potentially fraud with danger, which is why the body such as yours, the RACQ, are important to get those vehicle checks done. With dealers, can you be more confident in the car that’s been presented to you?

Steve: It certainly got more protection so we would always suggest you look to a dealer first. You got protection around any incumbrance on the vehicle, its history, plus there’s usually some form of warranty protections. Certainly, that’s the first place to look.

Ross Greenwood: I’ll tell you what, Steve Spalding, great information, the head of Technical and Safety Policy at RACQ. It doesn’t matter where you live, those potential dangers are always going to be the same. Many thanks for your time, Steve.

Steve: Thank you Ross.

Ross Greenwood: Steve Spalding there. Not bad advise.

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