The National Automobile Dealer's Association (NADA) warns consumers that unscrupulous individuals are refurbishing flood-damaged cars from Louisiana and Mississippi, altering the titles, and selling them to unsuspecting buyers in distant states. These hurricane-battered vehicles may appear normal at first glance, but mechanical and electrical problems can appear long after the seller is gone.
Here are a few tips that may help you recognize a flood-damaged car:
- Order a vehicle history report.
- Check the spare tire well for standing water.
- Be leery if a car smells musty or moldy.
- Be suspicious of vehicles with recently shampooed carpets.
- Look for grit, dirt or rust on components under the hood.
- Be wary of used cars with brand new upholstery.
It always makes sense to have a used vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic before you purchase it.
Scrubbing flood-damaged cars and reselling them isn't a new scam -- damaged cars were unloaded after Hurricanes Floyd (1999) and Ivan (2004).