How to Avoid Buying a Weather-Damaged Vehicle in Florida
With all of the recent devastating weather events across the United States, many people are unfortunately in search of a new vehicle. Whether your vehicle was damaged in the hurricanes or you’re just on the market for a new one, Tyrone Square Mazda has some tips for you. Don’t get tricked into purchasing a weather-damaged vehicle in Florida by following these guidelines:
Check the Vehicle’s VIN
Run the vehicle’s VIN through a database to check its history and see if there has been any damage. The National Insurance Crime Bureau has a database open to the public where this can be done. Many DMVs offer this service too, as well as companies like CARFAX.
Buy From Someone You Trust
Of course, it’s much riskier to purchase a vehicle from a random seller you don’t know. However, if you’re taking the used car dealership route, make sure they have a good reputation. Check their BBB Business profile for complaints, ask them about damage directly, and get written documentation of what they say about a vehicle.
Do a Detailed Inspection
When a vehicle has gone through weather-damage, extreme steps will be taken by the seller to make sure the damage doesn’t show. However, you can avoid getting fooled with these tips:
- Look in smaller compartments and crevices for signs of damage. The owner may have forgotten some spots, and things like dried mud, mold, and mildew can appear in these spaces. If you get into the vehicle and notice air fresheners or anything else being done to disguise any smells, be extra cautious.
- Be wary of recent replacements to the vehicle. A car-seller may boast that the car’s upholstery was just updated, but this could be a sign that the seller tried to cover up water damage.
- Test out all the features. This means the infotainment system, door speakers, windshield wipers, everything. It’s also a good idea to bring a friend or family member when you look at the vehicle in case they spot something you might have overlooked.
- Get a pre-purchase inspection from a mechanic you trust. A mechanic will know what to look for and can save you money in the long-run. Tyrone Square Mazda’s highly-trained technicians would be happy to look at your vehicle. Check out our service page for more information and don’t hesitate to call 727-344-3344 with any questions.