ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Cars trapped in floodwaters over the spring and summer could be hitting the market. So, you need to be wary before buying a used car. It could have flood damage and you don't know it. The Better Business Bureau wants you to be warned and informed.
How can you protect yourself from buying a flood-damaged vehicle?
Ask to see the title: Check the date and place of transfer to see if the car came from a flood-damaged state and if the title is stamped 'salvage.' if you are still suspicious, purchase a vehicle history report of the vehicle, which should tell you if a car has ever been tagged as 'salvage' or 'flood damaged' in any state.
carefully check the dashboard. Examine all gauges to make sure they are accurate and there are no signs of water. Look for indications that the dashboard may have been removed.
Check the electronic components: Test the vehicle`s lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, 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 interior spaces: Look in the trunk, glove compartment and beneath the seats for signs of mud, rust or water damage. Check for open drainage holes in the bottom of the vehicle.
Check the condition of the fabrics: Look for discolored, faded or mildewed upholstery and carpeting.
Get a vehicle history report from a database service: The national insurance crime bureau`s free database lists flood damage and other information.
Check under the hood: Look for standing water, mud or grit in the spare tire wheel well or around the engine compartment under the hood.
Do a smell test: A heavy aroma of cleaners and disinfectants could be a sign that someone is trying to mask a mold or odor problem. · research the dealer. Always check out the BBB business profile for the business.