Buyer beware of waterlogged vehicles from flooded areas


CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The flooding in Louisiana has left many people and cars stranded in water. While many of the vehicles will be sent straight to the junk yard, some could be fixed and resold – but consumers should beware of purchasing a vehicle that was waterlogged.

Many of these damaged vehicles will get flagged that they’ve got flood damage before they make it back into the market place, but unfortunately after Hurricane Sandy, consumers found that some cars slipped through the cracks and buyers were caught off guard.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said cars can enter out-of-state markets when individuals sell cars online without disclosing flood damage. He said the first thing buyers should do is check the vehicle history reports by using the vehicle identification number (VIN).

Jeff Baker, service manager for Haus Auto Group, said or the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System are good ways to run a VIN number and get the vehicle history. Buyers should also test out components of the vehicle.

“Try the electronics on the vehicle. Sometimes if they get water into them, they act strange. The radio might go in and out or change stations or the turn signals might not work properly,” Baker said.

Also inspect the vehicle for water stains or mold, and make sure the car doesn’t have a musty smell or rust around screws and bolts.

“Every car that we get we check for all of those types of things. We check for any type of damage, Baker said. “When you get a car up in the air, you can look for mud in the wrong places. You can look under the dash. And a lot of times when they clean these cars for sale, they try to clean them as best as they can but can’t always get up into the dash.”

To help determine if a vehicle was stolen or declared a salvage vehicle search the VIN with the National Insurance Crime Bureau. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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