Keep your money, don't be 'title washed' by a flood-damaged car

Keep your money, don't be 'title washed' by a flood-damaged car

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As waters recede in flooded areas, there could be a chance people will try to re-sell their car that was sitting in flood water. It could be hard to spot the damage before it's too late.

Usually, flood-damaged cars are reported to insurance agencies and the owner is covered for the loss.  The owner can re-sell the car with full disclosure of its history.

But other times, people do what's called 'title washing,' and put a car that might look good on the outside back on the market with a big 'for sale' sign.

"There will be people that will come in and try to trade a car like that," said Tom Raschiatore, a car dealership general manager at Hyatt Buick GMC. "But, you know being in the business and having the managers you have working for you they know what to look for and what not to look for."

To avoid being the victim of 'title washing,' do your homework.  Find a reputable dealer and check out reviews.  But you can also look over the car yourself.

Raschiatore said mold will start about three days after the flood water is out of the car.

He said you can check for water spots on the seats. Check underneath the seats for a soggy foam cushion and lift up the mat to see the carpet and under the seat.

To be more thorough, look in the door hinges and pop the hood for rust.

Raschiatore said to be careful of private sales and Craigslist.  He said a flood-damaged car sale is definitely possible and cause for concern right now.

You can call your local Better Business Bureau or check out their website to find a reputable dealer.

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