How to avoid buying a flooded vehicle

Buying a car can be exciting, but it can also be a nightmare if you're not careful.

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 8:28 PM
Updated: Feb 15, 2018 10:08 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)-  After catastrophic events like Hurricane Erma those flooded cars are making appearances in other parts of the country possibly even in the Mid-West.

Here’s a breakdown on what you should look for to avoid buying a flooded vehicle.

 First do a little research.

"The history reports are going to give you two major indications, accidents and then also service history should those have been done at a dealership. or even a service center like midas and things like that,"Bob Bolen with Big City Cars said.

As a consumer, under the Indiana Lemon Law, if your new ride experiences problems within 18 months or 18,000 miles….which ever comes first, you can bring the vehicle back to the dealer for repairs.

If the dealer is unable to fix the problem after multiple attemps you can return it, but if it's a used vehicle, Marjorie Stephens said you could have a problem on your hands.

This is especially if you are buying directly from a vehicle's private owner.

"One of the things a lot of people don't know and BBB gets called, when you go onto a car lot and you buy a car that has a sticker that says as is, that's exactly what it is. You drive that car off the lot and they have no more responsibility,"Stephens said.

That's why it's suggested to do a car inspection before the purchase with a professional, whether it's from a car lot or a private owner.

"Look around the doors look underneath the doors. There's a significant about of water marks that are very tough to get out, and it looks exactly how it sounds. You'll see a grayish line where the water had come up through the vehicle,"Bolen said.

On top of that, check the frame and alignment. The rust and distinct odor will be a dead giveaway.

Between the professional paid inspection and the history report, Bolen said people in Fort Wayne should be fine.

"Most of the dealers that we have here in Fort Wayne, they're not going to buy those vehicles. In our particular market, I havent't yet seen any of those vehicles. I haven't really ran into that because of those checks and balances."

While it's unknown if these flooded vehicles have made their way to indiana, Bolen said it's highly unlikely that it will happen because every dealer is notified of the cars condition before they get it from an auction to sale.

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