Even living thousands of miles away from areas damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, flood damaged vehicles could make way to car dealers in your area.
Once on used-car lots, flood damaged vehicles may be sold at deep discounts relative to the going rates of similar used vehicles. However, this is a time to be wary if buying from sellers not disclosing about a vehicles’ exposure to the storms.
With the vehicle identification number (VIN), shoppers can check the National Insurance Crime Bureau to see if vehicles have been salvaged or stolen.
The risk of buying a flood damaged car should add an additional layer of scrutiny to what always should be a rigorous process. Shoppers need to take extra steps when looking at a car including:
• Check used cars thoroughly for evidence of soot, grime and water damage. After a visual inspection, the car should be taken to a mechanic, who can put the car on a lift and run diagnostics on the electrical system.
• A car that’s been waterlogged can have an unmistakably musty odor similar to a wet basement.
• Start the car, drive it and listen to the engine.
• A potential buyer should put hands over everything, checking for dampness as well as soot or grit.
For more information on finding businesses you can trust, visit www.bbb.org