They resell cars seriously damaged by Hurricane Ian

If you are offered or find on the internet an “incredible deal” or at special prices on a used car, take some precautions first, because it could be a vehicle severely damaged during the passage of Hurricane Ian months ago through Florida and the east coast of the country. .

The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) warned that unscrupulous sellers know how to “wash” titles that should be marked on cars as “salvage” or “total loss”, and hide the damage suffered.

The OCP estimates that some 350,000 vehicles were severely damaged by Hurricane Ian in that region, so it recommended that local buyers be very careful when purchasing one without knowing it.

Every year, thousands of severely water-damaged vehicles are resold to unsuspecting consumers, often in different areas of the market.

“Water damage will eventually affect the life of the vehicle and the effects may not be immediate, but they are disastrous and dangerous when they appear,” said automotive specialist Dave Elswick, an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified investigator. with 17 years of experience as an automotive technician, recently joined the OCP.

“Issues like mold, corroded and damaged wiring, corroded control units, damaged airbags, and rusted interior components present serious safety concerns,” he said.

The organization advises consumers to check online databases that identify flood-damaged vehicles. Free vehicle flood checks are available from Carfax, Inc. on their “Carfax Flood Check” website.

When using each of these services, it is important to have the vehicle identification number (VIN) to ensure you get the history of the actual vehicle you are purchasing. The VIN can be found on the left hand corner of the vehicle’s dashboard.

Consumers who feel they are being misled when purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle can contact OCP for additional advice by calling 240-777-0311 or emailing [email protected] An OCP investigator can assist you.