EDINBURG – Due to recent rains, the rise of potentially flood-damaged vehicles is more prevalent than ever. Before you make your next vehicle purchase, Tax Assessor Collector Paul Villarreal Jr. wants residents to be fully informed of the warning signs attributed to flood-damaged vehicles.
“For many of our residents, a car purchase, like a home purchase, is a big emotional and financial investment,” said Villarreal. “We want to ensure they have all the necessary facts before they walk in the door so they can make an informed decision.”
A vehicle submerged in water suffers severe damage, especially when water enters the passenger compartment. Modern vehicles with electronics are particularly at risk, as waterlogged computer chips may cause damage to the engine or make the vehicle unsafe to operate. While cleaning a vehicle may improve the appearance, the severe damage caused by water infiltration is not as easily detected and may not have been addressed. These “cleaned” vehicles often find their way back into the marketplace.
The following checks and inspections should be performed to reduce the likelihood that you will purchase a car that has been damaged in a flood:
1. Check vehicle carpeting for water damage
2. Check for rust on screws or other metallic items
3. Inspect upholstery and seat belts for water stains
4. Remove the spare tire and inspect the area for water damage
5. Check the engine compartment for mud or indicators of submergence
6. Check under the dashboard for mud or moisture
7. Inspect headlights and taillights for signs of water
8. Check the operation of electrical components
9. Check for mold or a musty odor on interior of vehicle
10. Check the vehicle title history
You can also contact the Tax Assessor Collectors Office at 956-318-2158 or visit their website www.hidalgocountytax.org.