Cars damaged by flooding from Hurricane Ida and Hurricane Nicholas flood the Chicago used car market

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CHICAGO (WLS) – Flooding from Hurricanes Ida and now Nicholas could give crooks an opportunity to sell flood damaged cars in the Chicago area.

As the demand for used cars grows, people are looking for deals on social media or auto auctions. But you might have a flood damaged car which can cause you big trouble on the road. Here’s what you can do to spot one.

“It can be easy to buy one of these cars. We’ve talked to a lot of consumers and they’ve told the Better Business Bureau that they’ve fallen in love with this,” said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of Chicago Better Business Bureau.

The demand for used cars is exploding. Due to the pandemic, there has been a shortage of parts for new cars. The BBB has stated that if you are buying a used car, especially through an online classified ad or car auction, you need to do your due diligence.

“Make sure by looking at the carpet, the electrical equipment; you know, once the water gets in the vehicle it can damage it not only today but years later, so it really masks the, you know, the putting on of a new coating, that we’ve been told by consumers, ”Bernas said. “You know, that’s like why put new carpets? And they always have a different kind of excuse that they put new carpet in the vehicle. Lots of scent, smell.”

You should also:
– Inspect the condition of the fabric.
– Look at the dashboard to make sure the gauges are accurate and free of water.
– Check electronic components like lights and wipers
“The Secretary of State’s office also advises that you take the car, before you buy it, to a mechanic and they can check for potential flood damage, or any other type of damage that vehicle might have been, just so that you as a consumer are informed and with all the information before purchasing that vehicle, ”said Elizabeth Kaufman, assistant secretary in the office of the secretary of state for Illinois.

Kaufman said the office is removing water damaged cars from dealership and person-to-person transactions.

“So if a car arrives from what is considered a federal flood zone. We verify these titles, they will come back physically to a person in the Secretary of State’s office, who will then verify that title, and verify the insurance of that. car, ”Kaufman adds.

In 2015, the Secretary of State’s office showed the I-Team how cars damaged by flooding can be “titled washed”, some titles cleaned from “flooded” or “salvaged” status.

When making a purchase, you can consult a national database to help you avoid a washed-out title. You should also run a vehicle history report with a service like CarFax or AutoCheck.

More tips

Identify a “washed title” compared to a real title:

-Search for colored fibers in real titles
– Photocopied titles will usually say “VOID” or the fibers will not be shiny
-In Illinois place your finger on Abraham Lincoln, it is heat sensitive and will change color.

Learn more about finding vehicles:

– CARFAX and AutoCheck. People should check both, because sometimes one service can have more crucial information than the other.
– National information system on motor vehicle titles
– Google the VIN (free)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Look up a car’s VIN in the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s free database to determine if a vehicle has been reported stolen or recovered
Look up a car’s VIN in the CARFAX database to view a vehicle’s history
Find important information on the condition and history of used vehicles in the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.

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