The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a warning about cars water damaged from Hurricane Michael which they anticipate will soon be sold on the used car market under phony titles that do not disclose that they were damaged by the storm. Cars that have had water damage may be sold after being refurbished, but their title must indicate that the car has been rebuilt, which is a warning sign for any potential buyer. In the past, a number of state registries of motor vehicles have issued warnings to consumers to be on the lookout for used cars with phony title papers that indicate that the particular used car in which you are interested is from a state such as Oregon when in fact, these cars were from hurricane ravaged areas with many of them containing hidden water damage that could present serious safety problems.
In one instance, a report for a car purported to be from Oregon showed a damage report filed previously that indicated that the car had been listed as a total loss vehicle with a salvage title listed in New York and a new title later issued in Oregon. This practice of transporting a car to another state and re-registering it is called “title washing.” In addition to always reviewing the car history of any used care you purchase, you should always have a mechanic whom you trust check out any used car that you are considering buying.
Whenever you purchase a used car you should always get a full report on its history. The United States Department of Justice operates The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System which provides much information about used cars. The NVMTIS provides a list of various companies such as Carfax that have been approved to provide reliable reports. These companies charge between $2.95 and $12.99 for a report that will provide detailed information on any used car you are considering purchasing.
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