BBB warns of possible ‘flood’ of flood-damaged carsFollowing every major flood or hurricane, scam artists try to pawn off flooded vehicles as standard used cars. Flood-damaged vehicles may appear at auto auctions, used car dealerships and in classified ads.
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
Following every major flood or hurricane, scam artists try to pawn off flooded vehicles as standard used cars. Flood-damaged vehicles may appear at auto auctions, used car dealerships and in classified ads.
The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is urging used car buyers to be cautious of unscrupulous businesses and individuals that may try to sell flood-damaged cars as standard secondhand cars, without revealing the vehicles' history.
Unsuspecting consumers, particularly those living in regions of the country unaffected by hurricanes or flooding, can easily be led astray by fresh upholstery, new carpeting and bargain prices.
To determine if a used car is flood-damaged, auto shoppers should:
--Ask to see the car report. Check the date and place of transfer to see if the car came from a state affected by recent flooding and if the title has been stamped "salvage." If you are still suspicious, ask to see the title, which should tell you if a car has ever been tagged as “salvage” or “flood-damaged” in any state.
--Check the dashboard. Examine all gauges to make sure they are accurate and functional. Look for indications that the dashboard may have been removed.
--Test the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work. Also, flex some wires under the dash to see if they bend or crack, since wet wires become brittle upon drying.
--Check the trunk, glove compartment, and beneath the seats and dash for signs of mud, rust or water damage. Look for open drainage holes in the bottom of the vehicle.
--Look for discolored, faded or mildewed upholstery and carpeting. Recently shampooed carpets may be cause for concern. Carpeting that has been replaced may fit too loosely or may not match the interior color.
--Look for standing water, mud or grit in the spare tire wheel well or around the engine compartment under the hood.
Remember to always check out the reliability of the dealer by contacting www.bbb.org