Be careful buying vehicles that were flooded

Once the water enters the engine, it is almost impossible for the car to run the same way again. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous sellers will buy these salvage cars at auctions and resell them to unseen buyers across the state and nation. Here’s what to do if the deal on that used car seems too good to be true.

1. Look for signs of water damage

Stains, mold, rust, and discoloration are signs of water damage. Look for sand or debris under the carpet, floor mats, or where the spare tire is kept. Mold will give off a musty smell; If you smell a strong smell of cleaner or disinfectant, it could be a sign that they are trying to hide those odors.

2. Check the title

When a vehicle is declared a total loss, the title must be changed to a salvage title or non-repairable title. You can ask to see the title, and the vehicle history report will show you the status of the title.

3. Check the VIN

The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers a free service on its website called VINCheck . Enter the vehicle identification number (VIN) and the NICB database will show whether the vehicle has been stolen or recorded as a total loss.

4. Have a mechanic inspect it

Flood damage isn’t always obvious. Have a reputable mechanic inspect the vehicle and buy from a reputable dealer.

5. Check used boats and motor homes

Be aware that boats, motor homes (RVs), and campers that have been damaged by floodwaters may also appear on the market for resale. It is a good idea to follow these same tips when you want to buy any used vehicle or boat.

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