With the recent flooding in many areas of Canada, consumers should be aware that some people may try to sell water-damaged vehicles at bargain prices.
ICBC and other insurers are warning customers about purchasing or importing vehicles that could have been affected by flooding. Both new and used vehicles may be flood-damaged. Flood-damaged vehicles don't qualify for on-road licensing or use in B.C. or anywhere else in Canada.
To protect yourself, try to buy a vehicle only from a licensed dealer.
If you're planning on buying a new or used car from a private seller, here are some tips:
Ask about damage. Ask the seller directly whether the car has been damaged by water or anything else and get the answer in
Check for water damage. Look out for:
damp or musty odours inside the vehicle and in the trunk
signs of rust and mud in the vents, trunk, glove box and beneath the seats and dashboard
rusty brackets under the seats or carpets, and
discoloured upholstery or carpet that fits poorly or doesn't match exactly.
Test everything. Test the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, and radio. Turn the heater and air conditioner on/off several times just to make sure they work.
Research the vehicle's history. You can buy vehicle history reports with Canadian and American data from companies such as
CARPROOF, Carfax or Autocheck.
Get it inspected. If you think the vehicle may have been flood-damaged, have it inspected by a certified automotive technician who specializes in electrical and electronic diagnosis.
Find an inspection facility near you (external).
Ask for the vehicle's registration. Note that the registration will only indicate flood damage if the seller's insurance company officially declared the car to have been salvaged.
For information on importing a vehicle, visit
Registrar of Imported Vehicles (external) or call 1-888-848-8240.