ICBC Warns Hurricane Sandy Damaged Vehicles Coming to Canada

Posted by: Kenny Chan onDecember 4th, 2012

Hundreds of thousands of families are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy after it walloped the eastern seaboard. Now, here in Canada we’re about to start feeling the effects–at least used vehicle shoppers will. ICBC issued a warning to those shopping for used vehicles to be extra cautious when purchasing or importing vehicles from the U.S. due to the likelihood of an influx in flood-damaged vehicles as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

If you’re planning on buying a new or used car from a private seller, here are some tips from ICBC that can help you detect flood damage in a vehicle and avoid being taken advantage of:

  • Ask about damage: Ask the seller directly whether the car has been damaged by water or anything else and get the answer in writing.
  • Check for water damage and 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
    • discoloured upholstery or carpet that fits poorly or doesn’t match exactly
    • a water line underneath the hood that has been marked by mud or silt
  • 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. Make sure that all gauges are in working condition.
  • Get it inspected: Prior to purchasing a used vehicle, have it inspected by a trusted and certified mechanic. A technician specializing in electrical and electronic diagnosis should be consulted if you suspect the vehicle may have suffered flood damage. Find an inspection facility near you.
  • Research the vehicle’s history: Companies such as CarProof and Carfax offer history reports on vehicles from the U.S. CarProof has even set up a free online tool that searches its database to look for flood titles and storm area registration and can tell you if a vehicle has ever sustained water damage in the U.S.
  • Ask for the vehicle’s U.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.


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