NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The recent flooding from Austin to North Texas has flooded the markets with water damaged vehicles.
Local authorities and the Federal Trade Commission are warning consumers to look out for such vehicles in the market. “It’s really buyer beware,” says Philip Harris with the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Flooded vehicles considered totaled are typically entered in a free database that tells you the history of the vehicle.
But, then there are other cars, that did not have insurance. Those end up on a used car lot sale or internet , sometimes with no information about its history.
It is easy to spot a flooded vehicle if you know where to look. “It can be pretty and shiny on the lot but it can have its problems,” Harris told CBS 11.
For starters- there’s nothing to shake the damp, mildew car smell of a flooded car. “That’s often a dead giveaway,” Harris says. Also, look for sediment and dirt in hard to reach areas like under the floor carpet, cup holders and door pockets. Rust and corrosion usually follows a flooding event.
Look for rust spots in metal parts under the seats and under the engine. “A lot of times in the radiator, you’ll see a lot of debris from the water itself will be inside the grill of the radiator,” Harris advices.
Also, getting the car checked out by a trusted mechanic before buying.
There are some websites you can check for the history of vehicles you are buying. A free vincheck service on the national insurance crime bureau website(NICB.org) can tell you if the vehicle is stolen, flooded or declared totaled.
The Texas DMV offers a title check for the vehicle you want to buy.
And finally your local tax office can pull up a history on your vehicle.
Also, remember it is a crime to knowingly sell a damaged vehicle. You must disclose the problem to the buyer.
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