Don’t Get Sloshed By a Storm-Damaged Vehicle

Think about all those waterlogged vehicles shown on the news during hurricanes, floods, and other intense storms. Those cars and trucks could end up on a dealer lot near you—even if you live nowhere near the areas affected by the storm.

Flood-damaged vehicles can appear on lots all over the country, often priced very low but with no disclosure from sellers about storm damage. You might think you’ve found a great deal but, without a critical eye, you could drive off the lot with vehicle problems waiting to happen.

Take precautions before you buy a used vehicle:

* Get the history. Obtain a vehicle history report through a service like Carfax. You also can use the vehicle identification number (VIN) to check the vehicle’s status through the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck tool.

* Check the vehicle. Look for soot, grime, and other signs of water damage. On the flip side, if a vehicle looks unusually clean–particularly under the hood–it should be another red flag.

* Trust your nose. Damage from water and sewage can create a musty odor. Sellers may try to mask it, so if you smell strong deodorizer or air freshener, it could be the scent of trouble.

* Drive it. Pay attention to the way the car handles and sounds during a test drive. Squeaking or grinding is a bad sign.

* Get hands-on. Feel all surfaces for dampness and dirt.

* Consult a mechanic. A professional can detect problems you wouldn’t necessarily notice.

Once you find a car that checks out, head to Hopewell Federal Credit Union for your financing. Speak to a loan specialist today to learn more about our affordable rates.

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