TOMS RIVER – If you are looking to buy a new car, be aware of water-damaged used vehicles being sold on the marketplace.
“With the multiple hurricanes striking the south and the Gulf Coast, some flooded and water-damaged vehicles may be making their way to the market,” Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari warned.
He recommended that buyers thoroughly examine all used vehicles. Buyers should check the power seats and also look for rust spots in the wheel wells, body and any screws.
“Make sure you are buying from a reputable dealer who is licensed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Vicari said. “Use common sense and go over the car yourself with a fine-tooth comb. If the car smells musty, it may have been in a flood. Turn on all of the electronic systems to make sure everything is working properly.”
“Once a car is waterlogged it will never be the same,” Vicari said. “The vehicle can fail at any time.”
According to a report produced by Carfax, as many as 25,000 water-damaged cars may have already been discovered in New Jersey.
“Not all flood cars may be on the database,” Vicari said. “If no insurance claim was ever made or if the title was illegally ‘washed’ the vehicle may appear to be a normal resale.”
Vicari said it is legal to sell a flood-damaged vehicle in New Jersey providing the title is clearly marked “Flood Vehicle”.
The New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs provides online tips to help spot a flood car at NJconsumeraffairs.gov.
You can also complete a free vehicle flood check online with the National Insurance Crime Bureau at nicb.org.