Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Beware of buying 'flood' cars

July 18, 2008
More than a month has passed since the June 7 floods inundated much of southern Indiana, plenty of time for unsuspecting consumers to buy once-soggy vehicles.

The flooding was a drop in the bucket compared to what hit New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas after Hurricane Katrina. That disaster resulted in damage to more than a half-million vehicles.

Still, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles says that since June 1, 747 vehicles have been retitled as â??damaged.â?? That designation includes flooding, and it likely is behind virtually all of the title changes.

But people who unscrupulously sell â??floodâ?? cars won't tip you off by changing the title.

The Indiana Attorney Generalâ??s Office hasnâ??t received complaints, but nevertheless cautions consumers to be on the look out not only for Indiana cars but also for cars that might be moving among other Midwestern states hit by summer deluges.

Just how many of flood cars have been sold without the buyersâ?? knowledge is unknown.

Scott Reiners, a salesman at JD Byrider Auto Sales in Columbus â?? likely the hardest-hit city â?? wonâ??t point fingers. But he adds, â??My concern would be that these people thoroughly look at the vehicles from small, independent lots. The public needs to be aware that those practices may have been occurring, and that they really need to be concerned about the vehicle theyâ??re buying.â??

Look for signs of mud in the spare tire area, and inside tail lights and headlights, Reiners advises. Itâ??s almost impossible to thorough clean a flood car.

Have you heard of recent problems with flood cars?
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