The historical flooding caused by recent hurricanes has caused the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to issue a cautionary advisory for any prospective used car buyers. Flood damaged vehicles have been reported to the MVA, and there is no known precedent to determine the total number of flood damaged vehicles in Maryland. Vehicles from other states hit hard by the hurricane may also make their way into Maryland.
All used car buyers should have a knowledgeable mechanic thoroughly examine the vehicle before a purchase is made. The obvious signs that flooding may have damaged a vehicle include a condensation in the headlights or taillights, or a damp and mildew presence underneath the seats or carpeting. Water penetration may also damage various electrical and mechanical components that may not be as easily detected.
Though the MVA is taking steps to label all flood damaged vehicles on the salvage certificate and title, customers could still purchase a vehicle that is damaged with no indication of the vehicle's history. Buyers need to be as educated as possible when considering a used car and should make certain the vehicle is thoroughly inspected before they purchase it.