Know a Vehicle’s History Before You Buy


Information from the Better Business Bureau:

Experts say potential buyers should inspect the interior, trunk and engine compartment for rust, musty odors and other signs of significant water damage.

Always have your car purchase checked out by a reputable mechanic before purchasing. If you’re worried about flood damage, the mechanic should look for signs of water damage in the used vehicle you thinking of purchasing. Mechanics may detect things like water levels in the engine well and rusting wires. They can also look inside the ventilation system and see if there’s any debris – tell-tale signs of flooded vehicles.

Better Business Bureau urges new and used car buyers to be cautious of unscrupulous businesses and individuals who may try to sell flood-damaged cars without revealing the vehicles’ history.

BBB recommends the following tips to help consumers determine if a car is flood-damaged:

· Start With Trust® Check out the reliability of the dealer by contacting BBB at

· Ask to see the title of a used car. Check the date and place of transfer to see if the car came from a flood-damaged state and if the title is stamped “salvage.”

· Check all gauges on the dashboard to make sure they are accurate and look for signs of water.

· Test the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work.

· Check the trunk, glove compartment, and beneath the seats and dash for signs of mud, rust or water damage.

· Look for discolored, faded or stained upholstery and carpeting. Carpeting that has been replaced may fit too loosely or may not match the interior color.

· Look for a well-defined line, or watermark, and for musty odors resulting from mildew.

· If the car’s history seems suspicious, ask the dealer or individual directly if the car has been damaged by floodwater.

· Before buying any used car, always get a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic. The extra cost may save you money in the long run if major problems are discovered.

Bottom line -what looks like a good deal in the future could be a poor and costly investment. Remember to do your research and Start With Trust at for reports on reputable car dealers.

Better Business Bureau 
600 South Tyler, Suite 1300

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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