Hurricanes Mean Flood-Damaged Vehicles Could Cross the Canadian Border – BBB warns

Vancouver, BC – If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ll know that hurricanes continue to hammer parts of the Caribbean and South East United States.

Images of flooded highways and submerged vehicles in Texas paint a picture of insurance nightmares. The problem is, many of those flooded vehicles could make their way across the border once things start to dry up. Many ‘curbers’ will buy up these vehicles as salvage from insurance companies and then try to hide the flood history before making a sale anywhere they can – even in Canada.

“First and foremost, flood-damaged vehicles don’t qualify for licensing anywhere in Canada,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “According to the Vehicle Sales Authority, to be considered a flood-damaged vehicle, water would need to have reached the bottom of the dashboard. It could take several months before corrosion to find its way into vital electronics or even the airbag. Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true then it probably is.”

Tips to avoid a potentially flood-damaged vehicle:
• A musty odor in the interior, which can sometimes be covered with a strong air-freshener or shampoo.
• Upholstery or carpeting which doesn’t match, is loose, new, or stained.
• Damp carpets.
• Rust around doors, inside the hood and trunk latches, pedals, or under the dashboard.
• Water lines in the engine compartment.
• Mud or silt in the glove compartment or under seats.
• Brittle wires under the dashboard.
• Fog or moisture beads in the interior or exterior lights or instrument panel.
• Seat mounting screws: If these have been tampered with in an effort to dry the carpets, could be a red flag.

Other important checks:

• Turn on the ignition and check all instrument panel lights.
• Test interior and exterior lights, air conditioning, windshield wipers, radio, heater, turn signals and heater, more than once.
• Get the car inspected for flood damage by a reliable mechanic.
• Carfax or CarProof reports offer a vehicle history to check for flood damage or signs of salvage title fraud.