KUSA - It's only a matter of time until flood-damaged vehicles end up on used car lots, Craigslist or on curbs with for sale signs.
The extent of the damage will vary depending on how much of the car was under water - and for how long. That information probably won't show up on a CARFAX.
"That's bad for consumers," said Tim Jackson with Colorado Automobile Dealers Association. "It's bad for dealers. It's bad for the owners of those vehicles the next time they're sold. And that is extremely unfortunate."
Be cautious when you're car shopping. Look for telltale signs, such as water lines or stains on the carpet, wheel wells or dash. Look under the hood traces of mud and dirt.
It's also important to check for mildew or musty odors. Sometimes a carpet that has been recently shampooed is a sign there was an attempt to cover up the odor.
If your vehicle has been immersed in water, do not drive it away. Instead, have it towed to a service center and have it checked out by a professional.
Doing so could cause irreparable damage to the electrical system and wiring.
"They could permanently damage it," Jackson said. "They could make damage worse [and] could create additional expense later."
If the car was submerged under water for a long period of time and the water was higher than the axle or drive train level, Jackson recommends draining the undercarriage of the vehicle before it is turned on. Lubricants and filters should also be replaced.
It's also important for consumers to know that Colorado is not a flood damage branding state. That means the state's title database will not indicate flood damage. Some states include that information to prevent the vehicles from returning to the road.
RECENT COLORADO FLOODING STORIES
"There isn't even a field for it [in the database]," Jackson said. "I think that will change in the near future. We [CADA] support that change because dealers don't want to get those type cars on trade without knowing that they've been damaged. Nor would they want to sell it to a consumer if it has known damage."
Legislation just hasn't required Colorado to require that information.
"Regulatory authority is something that is being considered and something that we as a dealer association support," Jackson said.
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