ED NOTE: From 2005
The National Automobile Dealers Association (why do I picture a bunch of cigar smoking, hoagie eating car salesmen in plaid suits?)has warned us all to beware. The storms messed up something over half a million cars, including a lot of brand spanking new ones that were sitting on dealer lots in Louisiana and Mississippi. These cars should be totaled and scrapped but probably won’t be. After they are cleaned up they will be shipped to other states and have the titles (and the cars) “washed”, which means they will appear, on paper anyway, to be brand new and not vehicles that have been aquariums.
No big surprise I guess. You would think in this whiz-bang technical age that this sort of thing could be prevented. After all aren’t there things like car fax, where you car trace your vehicles history? Well, as it turns out those types of for profit services are at the mercy of State motor vehicle agencies for their info and you can imagine the disarray and maybe, dare we say it, reluctance to help out when millions of dollars are quite literally going to go down the drain.
The old rule always applies. If you are being offered a brand new top of the line fully loaded car for a price that is too good to be true, it probably is. The NADA (remember? Plaid suit boys?) has posted a 10 point check list of things that ought to make you go hmmmm. Find it at http://www.nada.org/ and click on the picture of Jack Kain head honcho at NADA to see the whole list. No matter what the title says, no matter where you are buying your next car, check for rust on screws in the interior. See if there is anything obvious like grit or mud under the hood. Lift up the carpeting to see if the under carpet has water stains. And if you open the glove compartment and a fish falls out, maybe you should reconsider that purchase.