Flood Damaged Cars
With all this crazy weather that we’ve been having there are tons of flood damaged cars on the market. And to give us some pointers we have Chris Basso from Carfax. Welcome to the show, Chris.
CHRIS BASSO: Thanks, Pat.
PAT GOSS: Alright, how many flood damaged cars do you know of at this point?
CHRIS BASSO: There’s over 200,000 flood cars that are on the road across the country right now. And that’s a lot of opportunity for you to wind up with one of these cars in your driveway without you knowing. You don’t want to have that happen because these flood cars, literally, rot from the inside out.
PAT GOSS: Yeah but you say not knowing. Most everybody that goes out and looks at a car says ‘I could tell if it’s been in a flood,’ and that’s not really true.
CHRIS BASSO: It’s not and that’s the problem with flood cars. They show little signs of physical damage which makes it easy for conmen to clean them up, move around the country, and resell them. This car, we rescued from New York in Hurricane Sandy and in less than half the day we made this waterlogged wreck look like any other used car on the road.
PAT GOSS: If you look under the hood, normal places that people look, and then look under the hood of mine you couldn’t tell the difference.
CHRIS BASSO: No, you can’t and that’s why it’s important to start with a Carfax report and look for reported flood damage in the report. But you should also take that next step and get it inspected by a qualified, trusted mechanic.
PAT GOSS: Technician’s going to raise it up in the air, because that’s one of the critical parts. So let’s raise your car up in the air and take a good at it.
CHRIS BASSO: Sounds great.
PAT GOSS: Chris, now that we have the car up in the air it’s time to start looking for things that might indicate flood damage. In my shop, when we’re checking a car like this, we start looking up above things and in between pieces of metal. Are there cracks and so on that debris can collect in? And that gives you a pretty good idea.
CHRIS BASSO: These cars look great on the surface but it’s not until you get up inside and really check for signs of flood damage can you tell that the car was once under water. That’s why it’s so important to consult the experts like Carfax or a mechanic so they can spot the signs of flood damage which may not be as obvious to the untrained eye.
PAT GOSS: Thank you. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line. Right here at MotorWeek.
With the unexpected passing of Pat Goss recently, Motor Week not only lost a contributor, but a friend, a mentor and an irreplaceable pillar of our program. Now out of respect, we will be retiring the Goss’ Garage segment after our next episode. So with his final words of car care wisdom Pat Goss shows us how to keep your car powered up for the road ahead.
PAT GOSS: Batteries are one of the most important parts of any modern vehicle. And that’s because cars have become very electrified. They have computers all over the place, even the steering on many models, well it’s electric, it’s no longer hydraulic. So, all of that. all of that electricity begins and ends right here at the battery. So we want to take good care of it.
First thing that we want, is that we want a good electrical connection between the battery post and the battery cables. See, the inside of the end of this cable would be clean, the outside of the post needs to be clean so that the electrical connection is good. One way to do that is to follow procedure, remove the negative battery cable first, always, and then follow the proper procedure from there. But, the tool you want? Right here, this is a battery terminal brush. It has this round one that fits over the outside of the battery post to scrub it clean…got little wires in there. On the other side of it, we take the cover off and there we have a brush that fits up inside the battery cable… to clean it. Now, before we put all of this back together, we want to buy some of these treated battery pads. They go around the post and they help prevent corrosion. They’re inexpensive and they do a good job.
Now, in addition to that, batteries are held in place, they’re held in place by what’s called a battery hold-down. They come in different forms and so on…this is one of the more typical ones – fits over the top of the battery, locks the battery firmly in place. Now some people will tell you: ‘Oh gee, you don’t need that.” That is not true. Batteries bouncing around under the hood, yeah, they do bounce around… all of that force that can jostle your car up and down, certainly can jostle a battery up and down. That frequently cracks the case, then you have battery acid, leaking out under the hood of your car. Or worse yet, the battery falls out of its holder, into the mechanical things that are moving around under there, it gets all chopped and you’ve got a real mess.
Ok, suppose you’ve got a car that isn’t going to be used for a period of time. Well, you may want to put a battery disconnect on it. They have all different types: Ones that use a knob to turn them like that, here’s one that’s just a switch, another switch… old-fashioned type, works well though, does the job. Or you might want to consider a battery maintainer. That will act just like the charging system in your car to keep the battery at a full state of charge all the time, without overcharging it. Take care of the battery and you’ll save yourself a lot of grief and dollars over the life of your vehicle.