State AG warns about flood-damaged vehicles hitting the market - WNEM TV 5

State AG warns about flood-damaged vehicles hitting the market

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Source: CBS Source: CBS

Are you in the market for a new car?

Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette is urging Michigan residents to be on the lookout for flood-damaged vehicles.

Following heavy rains in Metro-Detroit this week, Schuette said that many vehicles likely have damage, and many will end up on the used car market.

Vehicles with flood damage can appear for sale on the internet or car lots without any mention or obvious sign of damage.

“I urge anyone looking into purchasing a used vehicle in the near future to take extra time in examining their potential new car,” said Schuette. “While most auto retailers wouldn’t dare sell damaged vehicle, there are unscrupulous vendors who take advantage of the trust we place in those selling us cars.”

Water can damage vital parts of a car including airbag sensors, brakes, and electrical systems —and the damage may not show up right away. Weeks or months could pass before evidence of damage is known, putting the purchase past warranty and leaving a driver without a car.

Here are a few things to lookout for:

  • Musty or "over-perfumed" smell or signs of mold or mildew;
  • Water stains, mud or residue in the trunk, under the carpet, floor mats, gas and brake pedals, and in hard-to-reach places difficult to clean;
  • Title or registration histories indicating the car was in a flood area;
  • Car hesitates, runs rough, or shows signs of premature rust or corrosion in places where you wouldn't expect to see rust, such as the upper door hinges, trunk latches, and screws on the console.
  • Always physically inspect the vehicle's paper title before you buy. Check to see if it has been branded as "flood," "junk," "salvage," "rebuilt" or another brand indicating the vehicle was severely damaged. But beware; a clean title does not prove the car is undamaged. The title may have been ‘laundered' across state lines or altered to conceal the brand.

You can check the vehicle’s history for a small fee by clicking here and putting in the VIN number.

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