Purchase of Salvaged Auto

I recently purchased 2008 vehicle through a dealer at Salvaged Auto Auction. The car was totaled due to water damage. I checked the car facts and it’s confirmed that the car was totaled due to water damage. The car has 8,500 miles and mint condition however, when I try to pump gas, the pump nozzle constantly shuts off. I then have to pump the gas holding the nozzle almost outside the tank. Also, the cruise control and check engine light will not go off despite the resetting of the car computer. Gentlemen, what’s your take or opinion on this matter? Should I get rid of this car?

Never buy a vehicle that has flood damage. The water gets into all the electricals resulting in corrosion and emission system causing all sorts of problems as you’re begining to find out. And it’s not going to get better.

So yes, you should get rid of the car. But junk it so nobody else buys into the nightmare.


You should have never purchased this car…They are almost hopeless. (underwater) EVERY electrical connection is a potential failure. There are hundreds of electrical connections. You have no idea how deeply it was submerged or for how long. Good Luck…

I once bought an MG midget which was a flood car . . . terrible problems, eventually worked them all out, but it was a labor love love, learning to work on cars when I was a kid. Try to get rid of it but don’t stick some poor fool with it . . . sell it as junk. What did you pay for it? Much less than market value? Just curious. Rocketman

I would get the fuel problem addressed. It is mechanical and flooding has nothing to do with it.

The cruise light is on because of the check engine light. There is nothing likely wrong with cruise.

Get the code checked (free at autozone/many parts chains). It could be result of flooding or simply a fault.

Don’t give up yet.

Selling this car will not be easy unless someone is niave about a salvage title. No bank out there will finance this car. Insurance will throw some hiccups in too.

I paid 11,400.00 the car is in mint condition blue book list for 19,000.00. Now I’m between a rock and a hard place

Please quit thinking this car ‘is in mint condition’ - it obviously is in bad condition, they can clean up the outside, but a flooded car will have many electrical problems for a long time. I’m sorry that I have no good advice, you need an expert independent mechanic to see if this car can be made usable.

You paid $11,400 for the car? You over paid by about 4 grand. Typically, a salvage car is worth about half the blue book value, IF one can find a buyer for it. If it were truly in mint condition, as you say, there would be nothing wrong with it.
If you can get it fixed, throw the car up on craigslist as a parts car and sell it for what you can get out of it

There are “flood cars” and then there are “flood cars”. Some insurance companies will automatically condemn a genuine swimmer to a non-rebuildable certificate. At that point no one can get a legitamate title for it. Other companies call a car a “flood car” if the water has gotten into the interior. Others say if the water got above the center line of the front axle it’s a “flood car”, but still fixable. I’ve seen claims adjusters cut floor mounted computers out of two year old Toyotas right through the seat bottom. They don’t care. As far as they’re concerned the car is not rebuildable anyway. I’ve seen dozens of “flood cars” with engines that injested water, causing a hydrolocking situation. Water will not compress like fuel and air. Those engines will have bent connecting rods. The best way to fix them is another engine. It’s a simple, but expensive, fix.

Would I buy a flood car? Sure, as long as it was not one with electrical problems. How can you tell if it’s been too wet, even after a detailed clean up? I like to pull the plastic wire sheaths apart under the hood, inside the car, and in the trunk. If there is mud, wet or dry, inside ANY sheath, don’t even think about buying it. I’ve yet to see a “flood car” that was cleaned thoroughly enough to not have mud, or God forbid, SALT deposits, in the wire sheaths. Salt water is a whole different situation.

It would seem to me that the Subaru in question probably has one or many corroded electrical connectors. It has been under water of some depth. Many of those connectores have multiple pins. Curing your car’s situation may require taking each of those connectors apart and putting it back together with some di-electic grease. It can be done, but will take a lot of time (or money if you are unable to do it your self). The cruise control is probably a relay issue. Look there first.

The fellow worker I knew who had an MG had so many electrical problems, how on earth could you tell the difference between a flood car and a non-flood car? Heh, heh.

I worked on high tech military electronics until I retired. We got in a couple boxes which the Coast Guard or somebody dropped off a pier into the ocean. They were so horribly expensive they hoped we could fix them. Turns out it was found any box which hit salt water was to be scrapped, except some very special ones which were totally sealed. On those, if the plugs were sound, they could be re-used.

I vote with Andrew. It may turn out to be a nightmare, but I don’t hear anything that makes me too worried yet. I would try to fix these problems and see what happens before kissing my $11k good by.

Is the code that sets the check engine light related to evap control? I would start by trying to find your carbon canister, take it off and dry it out or replace it, and make sure the lines between the canister and the fuel tank are clear but not leaking. I would go on line and see if there is a car (not flooded) in a junk yard that has the same evap system.