BBB Urges Caution when Searching for a New or Used Vehicle

October 04, 2017

BBB Urges Caution when Searching for a New or Used Vehicle

Richmond, VA- In the aftermath of the flooding caused by both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma BBB is urging consumers to be cautious when looking for a new or used vehicle. BBB suggests taking the time to inspect both the inside and outside of the vehicle before making a purchase.

“Buying a car is one of the largest purchases a consumer will make,” says Olivia Smith, Communications Coordinator of BBBCV. “but this issue is not just limited to consumers buying family vehicles. A business owner looking to buy vans or trucks should also be careful and do an inspection before finalizing any auto deal.”

While inspecting the outside of the vehicle BBB suggests also testing the features inside of the vehicle. Make sure to test all gauges on the dashboard as well as the turn signals, windshield wipers, and lights for proper function. Regardless of the temperatures outside test both the heater and air conditioner before leaving the dealer’s lot. After inspecting the function of the vehicle do a sight and smell test by looking in the trunk or glove compartment for signs of mold, water damage, or rust and inspect for heavy odors of cleaning solutions. This may be a sign the dealer is trying to cover up mold or mildew.

If you aren’t comfortable with your level of vehicle knowledge have a licensed mechanic take a look at it before you finalize the purchase agreement. A third-party mechanic will check both the electric and mechanical components but also will be able to inspect the interior of the vehicle for subtle signs of water damage. This inspection may come with a separate cost but could end of saving you a lot of money down the road. You can check out local mechanics at

After inspecting the vehicle fully do not be afraid to request a copy of the title to review and a copy of the warranty. You want to be able to determine where it came from and if that area was impacted by any flooding and you want to know if any part of the vehicle is under warranty for at least 30-days.  If you believe you have been impacted by a dealer selling a flood damaged vehicle you can file a complaint with BBB at as well as contacting your auto insurance company.

Smith is the Communications Coordinator for BBB serving Central Virginia and can be reached at for additional comment.

About BBB: BBB serving Central Virginia serves Richmond, the Tri-Cities, Charlottesville, and Fredericksburg, as well as 42 surrounding counties from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest, and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of BBB include business profiles, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, consumer and business education, and charity review.