Avoid Flood-Damaged Cars

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).