Shopping for a car? Be alert for flood damage.

It seems to happen after every major flood… damaged cars are cleaned up and taken out of state for sale. In fact, some experts estimate that, typically, half of all vehicles damaged by flooding eventually return to market.

You might not know a vehicle is damaged until you take a closer look or have a mechanic check it out. Here’s what to do:

  • Look for water stains, mildew, sand or silt under the carpet, floor mats, and dashboard, and in the wheel well where the spare is stored. Look for fogging inside the headlights and taillights.
  • Do a smell test. A heavy aroma of cleaners and disinfectants is a sign that someone's trying to mask a mold or odor problem.
  • Get a vehicle history report. Check a trusted database service. There are reliable services that charge a small fee. The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) free database lists flood damage and other information.
  • Understand the difference between a “salvage title” and a “flood title.” A “salvage title” means the car was declared a total loss by an insurance company because of a serious accident or some other problems. A “flood title” means the car has damage from sitting in water deep enough to fill the engine compartment. The title status is part of a vehicle history report. Either way, every used car needs an inspection and records before you buy, but with salvage- and flood-titled cars, you need to be extra careful. 
  • Have your mechanic inspect the car’s mechanical and electrical components, and systems that contain fluids, for water contamination.
  • Report fraud. If you suspect a dealer is knowingly selling a storm-damaged car or a salvaged vehicle as a good-condition used car, contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency, or the NICB at (800) TEL-NICB (835-6422). You’ll help someone else avoid a rip-off.

If you have other questions about buying a car, these resources can help.

Tagged with: car, disaster, weather
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

You can also look for rust around the seat mounting bolts.

I always take a potential vehicle purchase to a mechanic before I buy it. This prevents you from getting scammed usually.

You Need To Always Look A Vehicle Over Inside and Outside ; Before You Buy ! Its Always Good To Do Your Homework On Vehicle Shopping !

Thanks for the vital information on flood damaged cars.

Make sure that you don't buy a car with early rust signs after a flood. Take my commemorative bobble head with you when you go car shopping!

Is Freshstart credit solutions a scam company

The FTC doesn’t have information about this company. If you’re looking for free information to help regain your finances, please visit our webpage, Dealing with Debt.

I think this article is very helpful , thanks for the information that has been provided :)

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.