FREDERICTON (GNB) - Due to the recent flooding that has affected much of New Brunswick, the public is reminded to use caution when buying vehicles in flood-affected areas.

Flood branded vehicles are considered non-repairable and cannot be registered in New Brunswick.

Flood-damaged vehicles represent a safety risk for occupants because their main systems may no longer function properly, such as the engine, transmission, brakes, electronic equipment and air bags. In addition, occupants may develop health problems caused by the growth of mould and bacteria in the vehicle’s absorbent materials (fabric, foam, etc.).

Following are some tips to help consumers when checking vehicles for flood damage:

  • Ask to see the vehicle registration, however keep in mind that the registration will only indicate the vehicle is “non-repairable” if the insurance company officially declared the car to have been flood damaged.
  • Obtain a vehicle history report from a service provider such as Carfax or Carproof.
  • Have a trusted and certified automotive technician inspect a used vehicle before you buy it.
  • Consult a technician specializing in electrical and electronic diagnosis if you suspect the vehicle has suffered flood damage.
  • Ask the seller directly whether the car has been damaged by water or anything else and obtain the answer in writing.
  • Check for damp or musty odours inside the vehicle and in the trunk.
  • Check for any signs of rust or mud in the trunk and glove compartment as well as beneath the seats and dashboard.
  • Check for rusty brackets under the seats or carpets.
  • Look for any discoloured upholstery or carpet that fits poorly or does not match exactly.
  • Make sure that all gauges are in working condition.
  • Check underneath the hood and look for a water line that was marked by mud or silt or for evidence of a recent engine shampoo.
  • Test everything – the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio etc.
  • Check the heater and air conditioner several times.
  • Look in the vents for signs of water or mud.
  • Have a certified automotive service technician inspect for signs of water or silt in the vehicle's fuse box and electrical junction boxes.