CAA Manitoba Spring 2018 - Page 28

drive Surprisingly, it is not illegal to sell a flood-damaged vehicle and put it back on the road south of the border. CARFAX estimates there are more than 325,000 such vehicles in circu- lation. It is illegal, however, to bring it into Canada, unless it is solely for the purpose of selling its parts. Canada Border Service officers actively look for flood damage on vehicles being brought into the country for sale, and they’ll declare them inadmissible if they fail an inspection. But some damaged vehicles still find their way onto Manitoba roads. The cars may look good and they’ll likely run well—for a while. “If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. You may have to really look at it carefully,” Smiley says. To identify a damaged car, get a free CARFAX report ( to see if the vehicle has ever been reported damaged by water. You’ll need the VIN to search its history. When shopping for a car in person, look for signs of rust or mud in the trunk, glove box and under the seats. And pop the hood to check for a possi- ble water line marked by mud or silt. Touch and smell the interior and How to avoid buying a vehicle that’s been note damp spots or musty odours. affected by floods and water damage Look for dried mud under the mats. By mark richardson Do carpets and mats look new and do they not quite match other uphol- stery? This could be a sign that soggy made of the damage. with harvey, irma and maria ripping mats have been replaced. It’s a risky proposition for buyers. through the U.S. last year, one thing is Check the operation of all electrical As water and electronics obviously clear: Flooding is a fact of life. In their components, including lights, radio, don’t mix, flooded vehicles have wakes, these hurricanes and other windshield wipers, an increased risk of water-related events left hundreds of windows and ventila- electrical problems. thousands of cars damaged by water. “If the price tion fans. Examine the “Electrical components, It’s illegal to bring a flood-damaged is too good to instrument panel and like the wiring harness car into Canada for sale, but that interior and exterior and other electronic doesn’t mean it can’t happen. be true, it lights, checking for fog systems, could be affected “Many of these flood vehicles were probably is. or moisture beads. down the road,” Smiley brand new on dealer lots,” says Brian You may have If all seems well, get the says. “Your electronic car Smiley, spokesperson for Manitoba to really look at car thoroughly inspected locks might even stop Public Insurance. “Many had very by a trusted mechanic at working.” few kilometres, so they’re going to it carefully.” your local CAA Approved Even worse, mold can look very good. They’re typically sold Auto Repair Services (AARS) facility. develop on fabrics and bacteria in the at auctions, after which they move If you get the green light, hit the road ventilation system. These substances around the United States and into in your flood-free car. are very harmful to breathe and can other areas.” Flooded cars might also never be completely removed. “A mold be privately owned and not insured: issue won’t appear right away, but it Their American owners just dry them To find an AARS facility: could show up in a year,” Smiley adds. and sell them with no record ever 28 Spring 2018 cAA MAniTOBA The Flood of Flood-Damaged Cars