CarProof Vehicle History Reports is offering a free flood damage check on its website so that individuals thinking about buying a used car from the United States can check for water damage, including as a result of Superstorm Sandy.
After entering the vehicle identification number or VIN, the check will indicate if the car has ever sustained water damage in the U.S. and if it has been registered in an area affected by a significant storm, notes a statement from the London, Ontario-based company. CarProof searches its extensive database in the U.S. to look for flood titles and storm area registration.
The company notes there is a chance some used “flood status” cars have been transported across the border to Canada and potential buyers here might not know to ask about the vehicle’s status. Still, it can be difficult to determine if a vehicle has been water-damaged from an accident, heavy rainfall or a natural event like a hurricane.
“Water damage, in particular saltwater damage, can have a lasting effect on a vehicle if it goes unrepaired,” CarProof reports. “The engine, transmission, drive train, fuel, brake and power steering systems are most susceptible to the dirt and contaminants that accompany a flood and corrosion can continue to cause damage months, and even years later.”
Last week, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) reminded consumers to be vigilant since storm and flood-damaged vehicles from Hurricane Sandy could enter the province’s market.
“Consumers in Ontario must really pay attention to the history of a vehicle they are interested in including where it’s from,” said Terry O’Keefe, manager of communications for OMVIC.
One concern is “the sale of vehicles that were not insured for this kind of loss,” O’Keefe said. “These vehicles won't be reported to insurance companies and, therefore, won't get branded.”
Vehicles imported from the U.S. branded as “flood damaged” would automatically be labeled “irreparable” by Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation.
Photo: A damaged vehicle and property in New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy. (Credit: Office of the Governor/Tim Larsen)