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Es 330 From Louisiana


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I've got a chance to pick up an 05 ES 330 with 35k miles for $21k from a dealer but after looking at a Carfax report, I see that the car is from Louisiana and had been when Katrina struck in 2005. The Carfax is clean but that still doesn't convince me. It's really sharp and has no odor or other telltale signs of flood damage, but I've been reading so many horror stories of people getting scammed when they unknowingly bought a Katrina flooded car that I'm leery of buying it. I kind of live in Hooterville and finding a Lexus like this is extremely difficult unless I'm willing to drive a couple hours to a larger city. What do you guys think?

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Take a mechanic or knowledgeable friend with you to inspect the car if you're that set on getting the car. However, as cars move past state lines, many details are lost such as a salvaged title. Good luck. I would wonder why they had to move it so far from Louisiana to try and sell a low mileage car.

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In addition to CarFax, also put in the VIN number on the "Flood Vehicle Database" link on the National Insurance Crime Bureau website here:

https://www.nicb.org/

Direct link to put VIN:

https://www.nicb.org/cps/rde/xchg/nicb/hs.xsl/79.htm

This was set up right after Hurricane Katrina and tells you for free if an insurance claim was made for the car in question.

Other than that, just do your due diligence to make sure car is OK. Look under the seats for signs of rust. Also lift the trunk mat and look under there.

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I nearly bought a flood car a while back... it was on a lot here in the Portland, OR area and when I ran a CarFax, it showed up as spending it's whole life down in a Florida or Louisiana somewhere, but then suddenly it showed up at a dealer lot here in the Pacific Northwest. When I asked the dealer about it, he said a 'little old lady moved up here from the South East and traded it in' ....yeah, right.

I test drove it, and it drove fine, looked good, but there are key things to look for: Look in the engine compartment... do you see any corrosion/oxidation on the upper back part of the engine. You should see aluminum components look all hazy and dull, where ferrous parts will be normal looking rust. That's a sign the car has sat deep in salt water for some time (this one I was looking at had both). Another tell-tale sign is on the wheel hubs... look for heavy rust around the wheel hubs, rotors, and brake calipers... another sign of being immersed in salt water for some time. Lastly, another really bad sign is when the LCD display on the climate control or stereo is all garbled. When salt water gets up in the components, then dries, it leaves behind salt crystals that can short across fine circuits... usually shows up as a garbled display. That's a bad sign that the water has been all the way up into the dash. You can also look up under the dash, and if any of the brackets are rusted, then that is a really bad sign.

The Lexus I looked at had all three tell-tale signs, and as the dealer pushed me to buy the car, I finally said, "there is no way you are going to get me to buy this car," and I told him why... then he didn't push anymore, for I'm sure he knew.

If the car you are looking at has any of the same signs, I would stay away from it. The main problem is in wiring and electronics... progressive oxidation can create a nightmare of problems that are incredibly hard to troubleshoot over the long run. If the vehicle had slight flood/hurricane damage, like saltwater up to the doorsills, then you are probably okay (indicated by rust/corrosion on the wheel hubs, but no where in the engine compartment nor interior.

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Having been to Louisiana recently and doing all the katrina tours and all I would say this. There are a lot of cars there, certainly many more cars were undamaged as damaged. For that matter, the majority of the damage I saw was confined to areas where 2005 Lexus ES330 vehicles would have never been. So with a clean carfax, and a good inspection I would buy it. It would be a shame to pass on a gem of a car just because it spent time in LA. Good advice from blk on blk!

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For that matter, the majority of the damage I saw was confined to areas where 2005 Lexus ES330 vehicles would have never been.

.....

wow

that sounded elitist...I didn't mean to imply that. Simply put, the majority of the areas that I saw (didn't see all of the damage) were lower income housing. It doesn't make them less than, only that if you have to choose between food for your family and driving a Lexus you know which one will win. Awww if it were up to me there would be bread in every basket, a lexus in every driveway....with a full tank of gas.

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Being in Louisiana, The only areas that were affected were New Orleans and the coastal parishes. The car is probably fine. We are in Lafayette, LA in Southwest LA. We had no Katrina or Rita flooding. Find the town the car was from. It may help you. The above poster mentioned why would anyone with a Lexus not evacuate when asked. We had a Mandatory evacuation order for all of New Orleans. Good luck!

Dave V.

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I would not buy the car.

Here's why, at some point down the line you're going to have to sell this car. You found this information about it being in LA during Katrina and so will whoever is looking at it then, and you're going to have the same problem this seller is having with you. Its stigmatized property.

PLENTY of nice ES330s out there, I'd travel for one vs buying one that concerns me.

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I would not buy the car.

Here's why, at some point down the line you're going to have to sell this car. You found this information about it being in LA during Katrina and so will whoever is looking at it then, and you're going to have the same problem this seller is having with you. Its stigmatized property.

PLENTY of nice ES330s out there, I'd travel for one vs buying one that concerns me.

I would have to agree as well. I'd find another one too personally.

:cheers:

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I would not buy the car.

Here's why, at some point down the line you're going to have to sell this car. You found this information about it being in LA during Katrina and so will whoever is looking at it then, and you're going to have the same problem this seller is having with you. Its stigmatized property.

PLENTY of nice ES330s out there, I'd travel for one vs buying one that concerns me.

I would have to agree as well. I'd find another one too personally.

:cheers:

I live in Louisiana and I bought my car from a Baton Rouge dealer, and it had been in Baton Rouge all of its life. On the carfax it showed up as an area where Katrina hit, even though all we had was heavy rain and wind and far away from all the real damage. That is what it will say for most cars in this area, even though most of them were never in the actual danger area. Check the flooded vehicle database, and please just take it to a mechanic and get it inspected. it really is a good deal, don't pass it up!

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