Buying Used Vehicle...Be Careful !!!

Snuffy

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I stop from time to time to look at used vehicles I see on the road. Lately I have seen a lot of vehicles that appear okay but either have a lot of humidity or show other signs of flooding such as a mildewy smell. I suspect that these may be Katrina vehicles. So check for signs of flooding.
 

twhitehead

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Snuffy said:
I stop from time to time to look at used vehicles I see on the road. Lately I have seen a lot of vehicles that appear okay but either have a lot of humidity or show other signs of flooding such as a mildewy smell. I suspect that these may be Katrina vehicles. So check for signs of flooding.
Snuffy: Any suggestions on what to look for other than mold/humidity? thanks tom
 

Rocky

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twhitehead said:
Snuffy: Any suggestions on what to look for other than mold/humidity? thanks tom
That's really a good question, and I've been racking my brain for what I would look for.
The only thing I can come up with is a new computer.
There's no way that the computer would survive a soaking, and, as we always borrow used vehicles for a day, before buying them, then hook them up to an analisys computer, looking for anything that is not functioning properly and for the car's history, we would know right away if the computer had been replaced.
 

Bob K

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If the car came originally from the US you can check with:
www.cartrack.com and get a report on the vehicle's history as well as check on title and title transfers. May be woth the $20 or so.

Bob K
 

playacaribe2

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Salvage/Flood/Katrina

Tom:

The Dominican Republic has had a law (2002) against the import of salvage vehicles. That having been said and knowing that there is a certain amount of selective enforcement and outright laundering of titles to these vehicles, I suggest the following steps:

1. Look for a water mark/line around the interior and engine and trunk
compartments;
2. Look for white corrosion at the fuse box, cigarette lighter, metal
frame underneath the seats or anywhere you have an electric connection;
3. Pull the oil and/or transmission fluid dipsticks and look for water beading;
4. Check the air filter housing for silt and other sediments;
5. Run a carfax; www.carfax.com
6. Run the vehicle identification number at www.nicb.org.

Caveat: Steps 5 and 6 are basically only applicable to cars formerly from the USA and its territories (Step 5) and those affected by hurricane Katrina (step 6).

Seeing humidity and smelling mildew may be signs of nothing more innocuous than having left the windows open in a tropical downpour, but that should give you pause to investigate further.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2




QUOTE=twhitehead]Snuffy: Any suggestions on what to look for other than mold/humidity? thanks tom[/QUOTE]
 

GKC

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Use Carfax.

If the vehicle came from the US, write down the Vin number and use Carfax to check it. If it was written off as a total loss, it should be noted on the Carfax report. Just the other day there was an article in the paper about people bringing in such cars under falsified titles.

A few years ago a friend of mine was looking for a used car for his wife. Every used car he was interested in he noted the vin number and checked it with Carfax. Every single car was a total loss in the US. Like Snuffy said, with the Katrina disaster I would be very, very carefull in purchasing a used car.

Greg
 

playacaribe2

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Rocky:

Computers are limited lifetime components and may fail and be replaced for many reasons other than a flood. While its replacement may give you pause, look to the electrical connections at the computer first and follow the steps I have outlined above.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2


Rocky said:
That's really a good question, and I've been racking my brain for what I would look for.
The only thing I can come up with is a new computer.
There's no way that the computer would survive a soaking, and, as we always borrow used vehicles for a day, before buying them, then hook them up to an analisys computer, looking for anything that is not functioning properly and for the car's history, we would know right away if the computer had been replaced.
 

THE GAME

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last yr i went to dealer looking for used suv and wrote down vin # of a toyota rav4.. then went online to carfax but no records found in that vin #.. but the dealer told me that vehicle came from the us.

so my question is,,, if vehicle comes from us, it must be in carfax db?
 

Rocky

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playacaribe2 said:
Rocky:

Computers are limited lifetime components and may fail and be replaced for many reasons other than a flood. While its replacement may give you pause, look to the electrical connections at the computer first and follow the steps I have outlined above.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
Makes sense to me.
Like I said, that was the only thing that came to my mind.
The only computer I ever replaced in a car, was from water damage, so that's what made me think of it.
 

Rocky

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THE GAME said:
last yr i went to dealer looking for used suv and wrote down vin # of a toyota rav4.. then went online to carfax but no records found in that vin #.. but the dealer told me that vehicle came from the us.

so my question is,,, if vehicle comes from us, it must be in carfax db?
Car dealers in the DR often buy cars from auctions in the US, that came from other countries.
Perhaps, if these cars are never registered in the US, they don't get into the database.
 

MrMike

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I know one guy who imports cars from Japan (has to modify the front end and enterior quite a bit to get the driver on the correct side for this country, but most Japanese cars are, I guess not surprisingly designed to be able to switch driver's side with reasonably little hassle)

Used vehicles are cheap in Japan because the annual inspection for a vehicle is a huge expense and no one likes to keep old vehicles around since they are useless without that expensive inspection sticker. (called a shakken)

Well I guess that's a really long way to say that the US is not the only place used cars are imported to the DR from.
 

Snuffy

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If they can make money on these vehicles they will find a way to import them. There are lots of laws here that are not followed. A vehicle may not have been completely under water...it may have limited flooding. Simply don't buy anything where you sense humidity. Check under the back seat for any signs of soil, etc.
look for water mark on car seats, etc. Look at papers and try and determine when it entered the country and from where. Who are you buying from. Recently helped a friend purpose from the little old lady who is part of a very outstanding family here in Santiago. I was still skeptical but after spending enough time around them that skepticism went away. Just be careful.
 

Rocky

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MrMike said:
I know one guy who imports cars from Japan (has to modify the front end and enterior quite a bit to get the driver on the correct side for this country, but most Japanese cars are, I guess not surprisingly designed to be able to switch driver's side with reasonably little hassle)

Used vehicles are cheap in Japan because the annual inspection for a vehicle is a huge expense and no one likes to keep old vehicles around since they are useless without that expensive inspection sticker. (called a shakken)

Well I guess that's a really long way to say that the US is not the only place used cars are imported to the DR from.
And there's more to it than that.
The Japanese have a greater tendency to maintain their vehicles well, and it's a small island, so their cars tend to have less mileage, for a given year.
That being said, the Japanese cars (right hand drive) are frequently sold in Florida auctions.
Mine came from there, and it was a right hand drive Japanese used car, converted to left hand drive in Moca, at Espaillat.
 

Frank the Tank

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Running a VIN# does not always give an accuate history of a vehicle. It is relatively easy to re-VIN a car and create a clean title for it. Especially be careful with late model luxury cars. Many are stolen out of the US with the sole intention of being sold overseas. If a car has been salvaged and re-vinned this will show up on a carfax report.
 

Rocky

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Frank the Tank said:
Running a VIN# does not always give an accuate history of a vehicle. It is relatively easy to re-VIN a car and create a clean title for it. Especially be careful with late model luxury cars. Many are stolen out of the US with the sole intention of being sold overseas. If a car has been salvaged and re-vinned this will show up on a carfax report.
Which is why we rely a lot more on the info we get out of the computer.
If the computer has been replaced or cleared, then we might stay clear of that vehicle, or at least, scrutinize it very closely.
 

playacaribe2

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Rocky:

So far this thread has focused on water damage and your point is well taken. However, a vehicle may have been in a total loss collision and the computer may not have been damaged in that loss. Thus while it is a good place to begin (checking the computer), please do not place a lot of reliability on it.

In this case, the services of an autobody person and/or mechanic may prove to be far more valuable. Finally, there is an old axiom in the car business that goes, "if you do not know your cars, know your dealer."

I have written further about this in past threads, please check the archives for further information and caveats.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2


Rocky said:
Which is why we rely a lot more on the info we get out of the computer.
If the computer has been replaced or cleared, then we might stay clear of that vehicle, or at least, scrutinize it very closely.
 

laurapasinifan

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the only info you can get out of a car fax report, is info that someone entered at some point in the cars history. If the car never went to a dealer for repairs. and only went to joe bloes car repair, then the info isnt entered into the cars history.( that carfax can find anyway). I bought a ford truck once that had 25,000 miles on it from a guy who bought it at auction....he never registered it to himself....the car had one line of history. it went in for some warranty thing once. Well the whole rear bed had been repainted!!!!!!! as well as some other minor work i could see had been done. I bought a carfax report on that truck before I bought it....the one line of history showed up and it was at 3,000 miles! the history ended there. A guy can buy a car thats been in a flood, and if the owner sold the car as is to someone.. then there is no history of the flood damage....of course youd think if it was an insurance claim that the history would get documented....but who knows.

Carfax tells everything that honest people know about a car, or that has been done by dealers, and maybe some larger shops.

bob
 

playacaribe2

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Carfax is not perfect and that is why it should be used only as one of your tools to weed out possible problems. Car fax relies on insurance company data as well as motor vehicle registry databases to track a vehicle.

As I pointed out in a prior thread, many/most car rental companies are self insured and thus a record of total collision loss may not show up on a carfax. They can merely send the car to auction where it can be bought, fixed and returned to the marketplace with a clean title.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2



laurapasinifan said:
the only info you can get out of a car fax report, is info that someone entered at some point in the cars history. If the car never went to a dealer for repairs. and only went to joe bloes car repair, then the info isnt entered into the cars history.( that carfax can find anyway). I bought a ford truck once that had 25,000 miles on it from a guy who bought it at auction....he never registered it to himself....the car had one line of history. it went in for some warranty thing once. Well the whole rear bed had been repainted!!!!!!! as well as some other minor work i could see had been done. I bought a carfax report on that truck before I bought it....the one line of history showed up and it was at 3,000 miles! the history ended there. A guy can buy a car thats been in a flood, and if the owner sold the car as is to someone.. then there is no history of the flood damage....of course youd think if it was an insurance claim that the history would get documented....but who knows.

Carfax tells everything that honest people know about a car, or that has been done by dealers, and maybe some larger shops.

bob
 

Rocky

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A lot of useful info has been posted, and thanks to the OP for warning us to be on the lookout.
For those of you who live on the North coast, you can take the car to Greg's Garage, here in Sosua.
He will unquestionably be able to tell you what the car has been through.
He has a sharp eye for detail and a lifetime's worth of experience.
Just buzz me if you need contact info.