Attorney General warns of damaged cars from Hurricane Sandy

Updated:

Olympia, Wash. - Flood damaged cars from Hurricane Sandy are now turning up 'for sale' here in Washington state!

          The State Attorney General's Office is warning anyone in the market for a used car to get the vehicle's history.

          That's because scam artists have cleaned up water-logged cars from Hurricane Sandy, and are selling them to unsuspecting buyers.

          The Washington State Auto Dealers Association suggests checking the car’s VIN number on Carfax (www.carfax.com), Experian’s Auto Check (www.autocheck.com), or through the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VinCheck (https://www.nicb.org/theft_and_fraud_awareness/vincheck).

          The state Attorney General’s office offers the following tips:

 Carefully inspect the vehicle inside and out:

       Test Drive First - Before you buy a used vehicle you should thoroughly examine the vehicle and go for a test drive to test the vehicle's mechanical operating condition. This means that you should drive the vehicle as you would under every day driving conditions - freeway, in-city, hills etc.

 

       Check the Gauges - You should check the operation of all electrical and comfort amenities (windows, lights and turn signals, defroster, heater and air conditioner), blow the horn, check the brakes by coming to a controlled emergency stop, and listen to the engine accelerate when entering on to the freeway and on hills.

 

       Complete a Visual Inspection - Do a complete visual inspection of the vehicle; look under the vehicle for any signs of frame damage or collision repairs, any flood damage and any missing, loose or ill-fitting body parts; check the engine compartment and trunk for fresh paint that might reveal prior damage or signs of flood damage.

 

       Check it out with Your Mechanic - If the vehicle passes your test, take it for an inspection by a qualified mechanic of your choosing. The mechanic should check the brakes, electrical system, compression, transmission, and every other system on the vehicle, especially any which caught your attention during the test drive. You should also consider an emissions control system inspection and test. Inspections may cost you some money, but if the mechanic discovers a major defect, you have saved yourself a big problem and a lot of money.  When an inspection reveals only minor defects, you can use that information to negotiate either a lower purchase price or get the dealer to agree, in writing, to fix the items before purchase.