Fleet managers should avoid flood damaged commercial vans

After the recent floods in the UK, experts are warning fleet managers who are looking for new vans to be careful that the van has not been immersed in water. The van may look undamaged but could store up potentially fatal faults in the future.

The experts are concerned that, while van insurance firms always go to stringent efforts to dispose of flood-damaged vehicles to make sure that they do not reach the open market, there are many others that find their way on to the used market. Last week an AA patrol man called to assist with a car that had been immersed in flood water had his arm broken when the airbag unexpectedly activated, if the airbag had gone off while the vehicle was travelling 70mph on the motorway, the results could have been much worse. With so much flooding, experts are worried that some van owners whose vehicles might appear not to have been seriously damaged by water could simply sell them on instead of making a claim on their van insurance policy.

Simon Douglas, from the AA, said “Catalytic converter and exhaust system life can be seriously reduced, wheel bearings could seize, brakes can be affected and alternator and starter motors could fail. In addition, water can seriously affect electrical and electronic systems including the airbags, which might go off unexpectedly – or not deploy when they should.”

Buyers should beware of buying from private vendors as they will be left out of pocket when problems emerge maybe after a few weeks or month. If a used van has the windows left open it may be to let out the smell of damp and if the inside of the windows are seriously running with condensation, there is moisture inside the van. Take the oil filler cap off and if there is a whitish, mayonnaise-like deposit visible, there is water in the engine. Also check to see if the airbag warning light works. If the airbag electronics have been submerged, they will fail when needed or even go off unexpectedly while driving.

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