Why Approximately 1 Million Used Cars Are Unsafe to Drive?
Even if a used vehicle is not expensive and seems to have no hiccups during a test drive it may still conceal dangerous problems and be unsafe to drive.
Scammers have developed certain ways to skillfully hide structural damage on used vehicles and sell for a profit.
When insurance company write off a car as a “total loss” (it may happen when a car is seriously damaged in collision or event like a hurricane, hail, storm or flood) it should get a corresponding “brand” – “flood damaged”, “rebuilt”, “salvage”, etc. The brand reveals car problems and its condition to future owners.
The lack of national titling law has led to a practice known as title washing. Scammers re-register cars in different states to get new title making them appear safe. Car buyers are not only being scammed. They also put themselves and others in danger when driving automatically defective car on U.S. roads.
Title washing scam is gaining popularity. Nearly 800,000 used vehicles across the country are concealing certain problems, according to new research from Carfax.
Con men don’t use chemicals like bleach anymore to remove the brands like “flood” or “damage”. Now they have digital scanners and photo editing software at their disposal to print new titles. We can find title-washed cars on the road of states, where flood and hurricane occur regularly – New Jersey (80,000cars), North Carolina (74,266), Mississippi (57,213), Georgia and California, according to the report. Let’s recall hurricane Sandy, which contributed a lot to the recent growth of title washing scam. More than 500 vehicles with washed titles are serving as taxis nationwide.
Some states have no “flood” brands for car titles, and it’s a loophole, which allows scammers to bring a vehicle flooded during a hurricane in Florida to a landlocked state, to get a clean title and sell it.
Salvaged vehicles with washed titles are hazardous to drive. Just doing a test drive is not enough to find out whether the vehicle has problems. Have a qualified mechanic to inspect the car before buying it. Also, check for warning signs of flooding. Test everything related to the car’s electrical system, for example, the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, heater, air conditioner, and cigarette lighter several times to make sure they all work. Look for signs of mud, rust or water damage in the under the seats, trunk, and glove compartment.
If you’ve bought a used car and later found out it had been totaled or flooded in the past, contact The Margarian Law Firm at (818) 553-1000 to know your legal rights.