Use extra caution if you plan to buy a used car anytime soon. CNBC says several thousand used cars now up for sale were likely damaged by flooding from Hurricane Ida. Many shady dealers or private sellers aren't disclosing any of the damage, either.
It doesn't help that the demand for used cars has been high during the pandemic due to part shortages for new vehicles. That makes it even more tempting for crooks to try to take advantage of you.
If you do decide to shop around for a used car in the near future, make sure you get a full history report on it using its VIN through Carfax or the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck. It's not a guarantee you'll find out everything about the car, but it's a start.
Then, Carfax recommends looking for:
- A musty odor inside the car.
- Loose, damp, or stained carpet and upholstery.
- Rust around doors, under the dashboard, or on the pedals. Check inside the hood and trunk latches, too.
- Moisture beads in the headlights or instrument panels.
Be careful buying that car; there were already an estimated 378,000 flood-damaged vehicles on the road before Hurricane Ida even hit the US.