Consumer Alert — Watch out for Flood Damaged Cars on the Market
I never thought of this so I guess it's a good thing that our Attorney General did. In case you didn't know, our Attorney General is Jeff Landry and he issued a press release warning consumers to beware when purchasing cars because there may be some flood damaged cars out there on the market.
Landry advises that,
"If you are in the market to buy a used vehicle, inspect it carefully. Look at hidden parts or crevices to check for mud or silt, indicators of the car having water damage.”
Here a few things to look for to help you spot a flood damaged car:
Water stains, mildew or sand - Check out the carpet and floor mats as well as the wheel well where the spare tire is stored. You'll also want to check out for fogging in the headlights as well as in the dashboard.
Smells - If you check out a car and it smells of cleaning products, air fresheners or disinfectants it's probably a sign that someone is trying to cover up the odor of mold or mildew.
Feel and listen for problems- Have your mechanic inspect the car’s mechanical and electrical components, and systems that contain fluids, for water contamination. Notice if anything feels or sounds unusual.
Know the difference between “salvage title” and “flood title.” A salvage title means the car was declared a total loss by an insurance company because of a serious accident or some other problems. A flood title means the car has damage from sitting in water deep enough to fill the engine compartment. The title status is part of a vehicle history report.
Obtain a vehicle history report. The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s free database includes flood damage and other information.
So, what do you do when you encounter any of these problems other than not buying the car in question? Landry says:
If you suspect a dealer is knowingly selling a flood-damaged car or a salvaged vehicle as a good-condition, used car – contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency, or Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.