RALEIGH, NC (WMBF) – The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles' License and Theft Bureau is warning consumers in the market for a new vehicle, to look out for flooded vehicles offered for sale following recent rains throughout the state.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the NCDOT says, the state of New York alone estimated that as many as 150,000 cars were totaled as a result of flooding during Superstorm Sandy last fall, including about 5,000 new cars at dealerships.
"We want to remind all prospective car buyers to be on the lookout for vehicles that may have been affected by floodwaters during recent rains in North Carolina and up and down the eastern seaboard," said DMV Commissioner Nick Tennyson.
Recent rains haven't reached levels of Sandy, but the National Weather Service reports they have measured 10 inches above normal over the past 90 days. According to DMV inspectors, this is enough to have covered some vehicles to the danger point of damage.
The best protection against fraudulent reselling of flood vehicles is to keep an eye out for signs of fraud and misrepresentation, whether the sale is initiated over the Internet or in person.
DMV License and Theft Bureau inspectors provide the following tips:
- Check for rust around the vehicle, including under the hood, on parts like screws and bolts, and on the brakes behind the wheel.
- Check the vehicle's interior and under the vehicle. You may see water lines where water settled. It is very hard to remove these stains.
- Check all the electronics of the vehicle. Flooding sometimes will cause these systems to malfunction.
- Check the seller's title to see if the vehicle has been previously branded "Flood or Water Damage."
- Contact your local DMV License and Theft Bureau office for assistance in identifying potential flood vehicles.