USED CAR BUYER"S ALERT - WATCH OUT FOR RAIN & FLOOD DAMAGED VEHICLES
Used Car Buyers Alert
WATCH OUT FOR RAIN & FLOOD DAMAGED VEHICLES
by Marty Bernstein
The Auto Channel
The terrible weather of the past few weeks has resulted in overwhelming amounts of rain, overflowing streams, sewers and rivers, serious floods, high wind, tornados and combinations of all has resulted in significant damage and destroyed over several hundred thousand vehicles though many states in the country. (Insert picture of flooded vehicles)
Unscrupulous sellers know how to hide major water damage with cosmetic touches of a new coat of paint and new upholstery but there may be major damage to the engine and other critical components of the vehicle.
So if you’re thinking about buying a used car over the next few weeks or months here are tips and what to watch for that will save money and prevent buying a damaged car or truck.
Step 1: Look, touch and smell!
Are there musty or unrecognized odors inside the car
Look for start of mildew and mold in trunk
Check under floorboards/carpet for dampness and odor
Ditto for glovebox
Is an overly strong air freshener evident
A lingering odor from disinfectant is smelled
Feel the carpets in front and rear to feel dampness
Look for brittle wires under the dashboard and in engine compartment
Water droplets or condensation in headlights mean high water
Look for moisture in lights inside the vehicle
Beginnings of rust in door sills and wheel wells
Dirt, dead grass, mud or grime in odd places like the spare-tire well is not good
Screws, bolts and fasteners that look new are not good
Step 2: Test, check and verify
Determine if all lights in and out of vehicle work
Turn on engine to see if all instrument panel lights
Have a trusted mechanic check-out the car
Be suspicious of a vehicle priced under going market price
Verify the vehicles history with a check of the VIN
If the near new or used vehicle seems too good and the price is well below market, it probably is too good to be true. Be suspicious, very suspicious!
Protect Yourself!Many dealers offer a free CarFax report during the selling process
Order a report from CarFax can for less than $50
The Justice Department’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System offers vehicle checks from various vendors
Go to VINCheck a free public service from the National Insurance Crime Bureau www.nicb.org/theft_and_fraud_awareness/vincheck/vinchech to learn if the vehicle was previously declared as salvage