SMART LIVING: Hurricanes and rotten cars

If you’re in the market for a used car, now is the time for the buyer to beware.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:37 PM CST
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ORLANDO, Fla. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - If you’re in the market for a used car, now is the time for the buyer to beware.

Cars that were damaged from flooding during natural disasters are being sold nationwide at an alarming rate.

When a car is moved out of the state where the damage occurred, the title gets “washed.” Taking that action removes all evidence of flooding or a reconstructed title. The car with a “clean” title is then shipped to other states and sold to unsuspecting buyers.

“The telltale signs of a car being damaged by a hurricane is usually very basic flood damage,” said Evan Noriega Thomas, a social media expert. “If there’s widespread staining on the floor that creeps up to a certain level and if there are any electronics that don’t work and they seem somewhat sporadic. Let’s say that your driver’s side window doesn’t work or your rear passenger locking mechanism on the door doesn’t work.”

The vehicles can pose a serious safety threat to drivers and passengers because flood damage causes non-functioning airbags, engines, brakes, and electrical system damage.

Agencies like Auto Check or the National Insurance Crime Bureau provide a free storm damage scan for consumers to check cars before they buy them.

By using the VIN number, the services will tell a person whether the car was reported as storm-damaged or if the car was registered or titled within 12 months prior to a storm.

A person can also be better protected by insisting on a warranty or by refusing to buy the car on an “as is” basis.

If you have any concerns about the car or the answers the dealer gives you, trust your gut and walk away from the deal.

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