Nevada DMV warns car buyers in wake of hurricanes
September 15, 2017
DMV says even though the recent hurricane flooding is more than 2,000 miles from here, car buyers in Nevada need to be on their guard to make sure they aren't buying a flood-damaged vehicle.
"The used car market will be flooded with vehicles damaged in the storms, count on it," said Terri Albertson, Nevada DMV director. "They may look and run fine but problems can appear months or even years later."
She said those vehicles can look from the record as though they're coming from any state, not just Texas, Louisiana or Florida.
Albertson said thousands of vehicles were damaged by hurricanes Harvey and Irma and insurers typically declare them as a loss, turning them over to auction houses and salvage yards. While some will be dismantled, others, she said, will be repaired and sold all over the country. Doing so is legal, she said, but only as long as the damage is disclosed and the vehicle title marked with a "brand" such as rebuilt or flood damaged.
She said unscrupulous sellers often try to conceal that information so they can sell it for more than it's worth.
Albertson said the National Automobile Dealers Association offers inspection tips for potential buyers looking for significant water damage. Those include:
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Check the vehicle's history through the National Insurance Crime Bureau's VinCheck, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System or a history reporting service like Experian or Carfax;
Examine the interior and engine compartment for evidence of water and grit;
Check for recently shampooed carpeting and look under the carpeting for water residue, rust or stains;
Check door panels and upholstery for evidence of water damage and under the dash for dried mud, mold or other water damage including in the trunk.
Look for mud and grit in alternators, behind wiring harnesses and for rust on screws in the console and other areas water shouldn't normally get to unless the vehicle was submerged;
Examine the vehicle's electrical wiring and other components for rust and other suspicious corrosion.