Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission warns people not to buy flood damaged vehicles after Florence

JOHNSON CITY, TN. (WJHL) - In the wake of Hurricane Florence, more cars with water damage may be entering Tennessee. Now, the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission warns people they should not buy flood damaged vehicles.

"We want Tennesseans  to be aware of unscrupulous car dealers who aim to make money by selling you a defective vehicle," said  TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission is a part of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s (TDCI). 

Scammers will try to sell people these cars without disclosing the facts or its history.

The Mazda Acura dealer in Johnson City is aware of the scam and has a protocol in place when buying used cars from an auction.

"We look at the Car Fax," said Daniel Smith, a New Car Manager at the Bill Gaton Acura Dealer. "We actually go the day before, that way we can take more time looking at the vehicles. We walk around the outside of them looking for damages and things like that. Turn them on make sure all the windows work."

Local Mechanic and Owner of Reeves Alignment, James Reeves, says there are three things you should look for when buying a car to avoid flood damaged vehicles. You should check that spare tire to making sure there is no water or residue underneath it. Secondly, you should check the interior of the car to make sure the car seats do not give of a musty smell or wet scent. Finally, you should check that all lights on the dashboard do not automatically turn on when you turn on the car, it could be a sign of electrical damage.

"If you are going to buy a car in the next thirty, sixty, ninety days, wait because if they're going to show up here, they're going to show up pretty quick," Reeves said.

Although Car Fax is a good resource, it is not always up to date. If you suspect a licensed dealer has sold you a vehicle with a salvage history and failed to disclose it, you may file a complaint here.

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