The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a blog Nov. 20 by Holly Petraeus, titled “Don’t take a bath on a flood-damaged car.”
The blog offers tips on helping consumers protect themselves from buying a vehicle flood-damaged by Hurricane Sandy or another severe weather event.
However rare, the author cautions a number of Sandy hurricane flood-damaged vehicles could be showing up on the Internet or at car lots halfway across the United States, with no mention that they were saturated in dirty water not so long ago.
The author suggests consumers check the car they are considering purchasing carefully for high-water or mud marks. Take a special look, she writes, “in those hard-to-reach places that might not have been cleaned.”
It doesn’t hurt, Petraeus suggests, to smell carpeting and upholstery and to turn on air conditioning and heat to smell for mildew-scented air or the electric/burning smell that might come from damaged wires.
Listen to the car’s radio for signs that it isn’t working correctly.
Ask the seller directly if the car has been damaged; consider having the car inspected by someone knowledgeable you trust; and also consider buying a vehicle history.
Flood-damage does not only affect a car’s value, it can affect vehicle safety, as well.