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Beware of dealers selling flood-damaged vehicles

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2021 | Consumer Protection

Car dealers keen to turn a profit often fail to tell the whole truth about a vehicle’s history. They may even lie outright.

One report suggests that half of all vehicles damaged in the floods across the country are later sold. However, it does not say what percentage of the buyers understand the vehicle’s true story. 

Flood-damaged vehicles may be unsafe

When water fills a vehicle, it is not as simple as drying and cleaning any mold. There may be permanent damage to things you cannot see. The electrical system is the obvious one, and it is crucial to remember that starting the car does not mean it is fine.

A dealer may have repaired enough of the car to get it to start and turn on the lights and wipers, but modern cars are full of electrics, some related to safety. For example, if your anti-lock braking system (ABS) does not work, the vehicle will not stop as well as you expect.

Water can harm not electrical safety items, too, such as your airbags or seat belts. Here are a few things you can to prevent getting caught out

  • Ask the dealer: If you ask the dealer, “Is the car flood-damaged,” they might not tell the truth. Yet, it may give you more grounds to reclaim if they lied.


  • Check the dealer history Review what previous buyers say about a particular dealership.


  • Check the vehicle history: You should check the title and do a more complete online search.


  • Have someone knowledgeable check the car: If you are not an expert, bring a friend or pay a mechanic to check for signs of water damage.

If a car dealer has duped you into buying a flood-damaged vehicle, it is crucial to find out more about the legal options available to you.


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