Millions of people buy used cars and trucks every year and have a great experience. People like to get used vehicles because they can often get more features than they can afford in new models. Most used car dealers offer cars that are classified as “certified pre-owned.” In the vast majority of the sales, everyone ends up happy and satisfied with the outcome of the purchase.
Unfortunately, there are times when that is not how things go down with used vehicle sales. The Detroit Newsandnbsp;is reporting on ways car buyers can avoid buying a used car that has been damaged by water. They note that people need to be wary of any deals on these used cars or trucks that seem just too good. When deals seem like they are beyond belief, there is probably something else going on.
One of the most damaging things to happen as a result of a hurricane or even a bad thunderstorm is flash or other flooding. Water damage causes a lot of expensive repairs to be needed to homes. Cars and trucks are not immune from water damage. Flooding happens all over the United States and often, people with nefarious intentions will try to sell cars that were impacted by a recent flood to unsuspecting people.
James Rocker from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), says, “It’s a buyer beware situation. There are immoral people who will repair a salvage vehicle and get it running again. Do your due diligence before buying a used car.”
Rocker works for the NICB’s Western Regional office in Anaheim, California as a special agent. His agency acts as a go between for law enforcement and insurance companies. They look into auto theft but also pay some attention to fraud schemes such as those involving salvage title fraud. He says that often used vehicles that have been damaged by a flood are put up for sale at various auctions where the water damage information is just not mentioned. He recommends people ask about the title and if it is a salvage title.
Rocker says, “Using Carfax is a good idea. If thereandrsquo;s been a repair, it will be listed in the NICB database. And never buy a car off the street if they donandrsquo;t have the paperwork with them. You’re just asking for trouble.” He worked as a cop for about 25 years. He spend seven of those years working on cases that involved car and truck fraud.
The NICB teamed up with the California Department of Motor Vehicle to produce a list of tips for would be used vehicle buyers.
- Pay attention to how the used vehicle smells. They say that cars and trucks that have been damaged by water will smell like that has happened. They may also have watermarks. One sign is the smell of mold when the windows are rolled down. One thing people do to mask the mold smell is use a lot of air freshener so that can also be a sign that there is a problem stemming from water damage.
- Check out the fabric and carpet. If all of either or both have recently been replaced, it may mean something strange has happened to the used vehicle. You should always ask about that if you see it.
- Look at the VIN plate and notice how it is attached to the used vehicle. If that looks odd, something may not be right with the car or truck.
- Really look at the headlights, they are known to trap in water after a flood. If you can see anything inside of them, do not buy the car.
- Check under the floor mats. After a flood, there is often silt or sand. There may also be watermarks if the car or truck has been through a flood situation. The seat belts are also good places to look for signs of water damage.
- Check out the electrical components and sound system. There are often issues with the speakers after a flood and the water wrecks havoc with the used vehicle’s electronics so they should be checked.
Paying attention to the condition of used vehicles and your instincts can help you avoid getting one that has been damaged by water.