DMV warns of flood-dam­aged cars up for sale

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - NEVADA - By Art Mar­ro­quin

Hur­ri­canes Har­vey and Irma didn’t swing into Ne­vada, but car buyers should be­ware of flood-dam­aged ve­hi­cles po­ten­tially mak­ing their way into the Sil­ver State, the Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles warned Fri­day.

Even though in­sur­ance com­pa­nies typ­i­cally de­ter­mine th­ese ve­hi­cles are a to­tal loss, some of them are re­paired and resold through­out the coun­try, Ne­vada DMV Di­rec­tor Teri Al­bert­son said.

“They may look and run fine, but prob­lems can ap­pear months, or even years, later,” Al­bert­son said in a pre­pared state­ment.

It’s le­gal to sell a “to­tal loss” ve­hi­cle, but the dam­age must be dis­closed to the buyer and on the ti­tle. The DMV warned, how­ever, that some sal­vage yards try to hide the fact that a ve­hi­cle was dam­aged so that it can be sold at a higher price.

Prospec­tive buyers should check a ve­hi­cle’s ti­tle his­tory on sev­eral web­sites, in­clud­ing the Na­tional In­sur­ance Crime Bureau’s VinCheck, the Na­tional Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Ti­tle In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem or com­mer­cial ser­vices such as Car­fax and Ex­pe­rian.

Car buyers also should check for signs of wa­ter and grit in the en­gine com­part­ment and in­te­rior, along with wa­ter stains, rust, flaky metal parts, dried mud and moldy smells.

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