The first wave of flood-dam­aged ve­hi­cles is about to hit the mar­ket, write Neil Dowl­ing and Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Bikes -

CAR buy­ers have been put on flood alert amid fears dam­aged ve­hi­cles may hit the mar­ket. The RACV this week is­sued a warn­ing for car buy­ers to be ex­tremely care­ful about pur­chases in the wake of the Vic­to­rian and Queens­land floods.

The RACV says only 100 ve­hi­cle claims have been re­ceived by its of­fices and though it ex­pects that fig­ure to rise, it says it won’t be any­where near the 2000-plus fig­ure for Queens­land.

How­ever, ve­hi­cles dam­aged in the Queens­land floods may be sold into other states, which has prompted the RACV to is­sue a na­tional alert.

RACV gen­eral man­ager of pub­lic pol­icy Brian Ne­gus says prospec­tive buy­ers of any car thought to be in­volved in floods or com­ing from flood­af­fected ar­eas should check the ve­hi­cle against the VicRoads web­site.

‘‘Both in­sured cars and non-in­sured cars can be checked,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s sim­ply a case of en­ter­ing the car’s VIN (ve­hi­cle iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber that is stamped on the car body) into VicRoads’ web­site and the reg­is­ter will tell where the car has come from, if it had dam­age and if it was a write-off.

‘‘It’s very sim­ple for cars that have been classed by an in­surer as a statu­tory write-off.’’

For cars that had not been in­sured, it’s more dif­fi­cult.

‘‘If an unin­sured ve­hi­cle has been af­fected and the owner de­cides to fix it up and sell it, buy­ers have to be very care­ful,’’ he says.

‘‘Where there’s no in­surance, no write-off and no record on the na­tional reg­is­ter, the only way of check­ing is again us­ing the VicRoads web­site to see who owned it and where the car comes from.

‘‘If it’s from a flood-af­fected area, be­ware be­cause the ve­hi­cle could be dam­aged.’’

Ne­gus says af­fected ve­hi­cles will have dam­aged electrics and com­put­ers.

‘‘Elec­tri­cal com­po­nents are the most sus­pect,’’ he says. ‘‘The com­puter is the most vul­ner­a­ble, but wa­ter can ini­tially dam­age the wiring and me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents and then later rust can fur­ther dam­age the car. Our strong rec­om­men­da­tion is to get a pro­fes­sional in­spec­tion be­fore buy­ing.’’

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