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ADOT warns used-car buyers: Beware of flood damage

ADOT warns used-car buyers: Beware of flood damage
Posted at 11:34 AM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 14:34:25-04

The Arizona Department of Transportation is warning consumers to beware of flood damage when buying a used vehicle.

According to ADOT, vehicles that have been damaged by flood waters are likely to be brought to Arizona and offered to used-car buyers, as happened in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

You can tell if a vehicle is damaged by looking at the title, which should say "salvage" or "flood damage." However, scammers often fraudulently remove flood history from titles, according to ADOT.

Officials from ADOT recommend that potential buyers closely inspect vehicles before making a purchase.

These are some things you should look for, according to an ADOT media release:

  • Check out all of the vehicle’s nooks and crannies. Look inside under the carpet and floor mats and examine the trunk for dirt, silt and mold. Check under the dashboard and other hard-to-reach places as well. Criminals usually don’t clean all of those places. Finally, take a good whiff in those areas. Water damage leaves a distinctive smell.


  • Check the electrical and mechanical components. Water wreaks havoc on electrical systems, so check to see if any of those systems aren’t working quite right. Also, check the engine for signs of rust or even random new parts. Get under the vehicle and check the suspension for water damage. Any of those things could be a sign that you’re in danger of buying a flood-damaged vehicle.

ADOT urges car buyers to seek help with them if you have been scammed.