How to spot a hurricane damaged car in Spokane - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

How to spot a hurricane damaged car in Spokane

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

In a consumer alert: are you or your kids in the market for a new or used car? Be careful what you buy! Now that the historic floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey and Irma have receded, the next flood could be a wave of water-logged cars headed to a used car lot near you.

In fact, Larry H. Miller of Spokane posted a warning about flooded cars to their website.

More than 637,000 cars have been damaged in this year's hurricane season and for people who don't have insurance, they could try to resell these flooded cars on the open market across the country without the buyer even knowing there's a problem.

According to a warning from Vehicle History Tracker 'Carfax,' Washington is one of the worst states for title-washed cars.

What is title-washing? It's what happens when the owner of the flooded car purposely registers the vehicle in a different state, like Washington, which has looser requirements for reporting water damage. The problem is so prevalent in Washington, that Carfax estimates one out of every 193 vehicles on the road in Washington are title-washed.

There are four big things to be aware of if you are looking at a flood damaged car. One of them is the headlights-- check to see if there is a water line in the lens or reflector. Second, see if there is mud or debris trapped in difficult to clean places, like in the trunk or under the hood. Third, check for rusty exposed screws under the dashboard. Finally, check to see if the rubber drain plugs under the car and the bottom of the doors have been removed. That may have been done to drain floodwater.

If you aren't sure what kind of used car you're buying, check the VIN number on that car, run it on the nicb.org database. If that car was flooded, it will show up if it was insured. If it wasn't insured, buyer beware.

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