As we’ve seen in recent weeks, the UK remains at the mercy of Mother Nature and can be suspect to flooding at any time. When this happens, damage to our cars in the affected areas always will be an issue and with hundreds of people potentially facing the loss of their no claims bonus there’s a chance buyers could face an influx of damaged merchandise in the used car market.

Particularly if you’re buying independently as opposed to from a dealer, the AA has warned buyers in the weeks and months following the floods to pay close attention to the condition of the vehicles in case they may have suffered damage from the floods.

“A car that has been driven through water, which has found its way through the air intake and into the engine, will cause irreparable damage to the engine so cars so affected are also likely to be written off.” qualifies Insurance Director Michael Lloyd.

The potential for misdirection here is so strong that the AA even went as far to release a 7-step checklist for buyers to utilise when inspecting a used car in the coming weeks. Amongst more obvious signs, such as damp smells and water in the filter light houses, the AA recommends:


  1. Turning on the heaters to test if there is moisture in the system. If the windscreen fogs up instantly, there is.
  2. Removing the oil filter lid and looking for a thick, white residue on the underside of the lid. If it’s there, there’s water in the engine.
  3. Checking the airbag warning light. Normally, the light will go on and then off again in a few seconds. If it either doesn’t turn on or doesn’t turn off, there’s a fault in the airbag electronics.

Insurance companies are predicted to pay out over £40 million in compensation for the flood damages and with the government promising investment to protect against flood damages in future, this prevention will also add a layer of protection against faulty car sales.

So we recommend you give yourself peace of mind and make 100% sure the car you’re buying in 2016 is free of water and free of hassle. Nobody wants to buy a new used car and be stricken with a massive system failure and a whole headache of legal implications within a month of buying it.


Will It Affect Me?

If you’re in the market for a used car in the quarter following a flood, yes, particularly if you buy privately. Large supermarkets offer regulated, extensive contracts covering you against faults, failures and any potential fixes throughout its warranty period or the period of hire if it’s bought on finance.

As many independent or private dealers do not offer either warranties or iron-clad contracted coverage during a hire period, this legal convenience is not afforded to the buyer, leaving them exposed and vulnerable to failures.

Therefore, particularly in the wake of the trials that were the floods, it’s encouraged for buyers to make sure they’re legally covered in the purchase of a used car, in the case of water damage from resale, or otherwise perform a series of stringent checks of the vehicle to ensure its validity and performance.

For more information about the type of finance options available to you at Motor Range with used car purchase, see here.