by: Don Griffin Updated:
A man said when he bought a car, he had no idea it had serious flood damage and he didn't know how to check for the damage before making the purchase.
Alan Ucci said he had no clue a 2007 Nissan 350Z had been badly damaged before he paid $13,500 to buy it.
He said the dealer, Starmax Finance in Florida, never told him it was in a flood and that he only discovered it when the engine blew out.
“There's a big hole in the engine block -- squirts oil everywhere, will not run,” Ucci said.
Later, Ucci said he found his car was branded a flood vehicle.
States like Florida and North Carolina require that disclosure in writing. Laura Ucci and her son claim that did not happen.
But the dealership claimed it told the Uccis the car was flood-damaged and produced a document they said Alan Ucci signed that disclosed the flood damage.
DMV investigators said they couldn't determine if the document was invalid, leaving Ucci stuck.
Even if you don't live in an area affected by flooding, you could still end up unwittingly buying a flood vehicle that's been repaired and shipped across the country.
To protect yourself, check the vehicle's title history. Look under the floorboard carpet for water stains and check under the dashboard for dried mud and residue. Also, look for rusting in areas where water would not normally reach, unless submerged.