Officials: Avoid buying flood-damaged vehicles

by | December 6, 2017 3:35 am

Last Updated: December 5, 2017 at 8:41 pm

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs is urging consumers to exercise great caution when making year-end car purchases.
2017 brought two dangerous hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, and serious flooding to the Southeast. Though the end of the year can offer deep discounts on new and used cars, it is more important than ever to know the signs of a flood-damaged vehicle. Consumers can lessen their chances of buying a flooded vehicle by:
Thoroughly checking the vehicle for silt, mud and rust. Consumers may even need to check the trunk, glove compartment and under the seats, noting whether upholstery and carpeting is faded, ill-fitting or discolored.
Testing all interior and exterior lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, stereo, mirrors, and seats. Test the air conditioning and heater, looking for musty odors.
Asking to see a detailed vehicle history report. Also using the VIN to get a free report on the vehicle’s flood history at
Having the vehicle inspected by a mechanic.
Consumers who believe they have purchased a flood-damaged vehicle are encouraged to file a complaint. SCDCA processes and mediates consumer complaints against regulated businesses, refers complaints that fall within another agency’s jurisdiction, and mediates those complaints against businesses that are unregulated. To file a complaint,
visit and click “File a Complaint.”

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