NJMVC issues warning about flood-damaged vehicles

Posted: Updated:

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and local New Jersey mechanics are warning potential car buyers about the dangers of buying cars that were damaged by flooding.

Vehicles damaged in the recent hurricanes down South could find their way up to New Jersey. Officials say that scammers will often sell them at bargain prices.

“Many mechanics or scammers are clever and can totally remove the interior and rebuild, but the main problem is usually down the road,” says mechanic Lee Shatkin.

Shatkin says that flooding can cause copper pins inside vehicles to oxidize and corrode. This could cause a short out in the car’s computer.

“You’re looking at like $1,200 [in repairs],” Shatkin says.

The NJMVC suggests that when purchasing a used car to look for some signs that it may have sustained flood damage.

Signs include a musty, moldy or heavy deodorant smell throughout the car, rusted metal parts and water-stained upholstery and door panels. Other signs may include debris under carpets or near the engine.

The MVC also suggests looking to see if “flood vehicle” is written on the title or below status on the manufacturer’s statement of origin.

Officials also recommend customers bring along their mechanic to evaluate the vehicle before purchasing. 

They say some websites allow customers to check a car's history. But officials do warn that not all sellers will report such incidents so that they won’t show up on any websites.

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