Flood-damaged vehicles

A vehicle damaged by a flood is unsafe. In Ontario flood damaged vehicles are branded as ‘irreparable’ and cannot be registered for driving.

Many motor vehicles have suffered flood damage in recent, severe storms in Florida, Georgia and Texas and flash floods in parts of Southwest Ontario. Protect yourself from unknowingly purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle:

  • Always inspect a vehicle in daylight
  • Before purchasing, have the vehicle inspected by a certified automotive service technician or at a diagnostic centre
  • Check for signs of water damage, including discoloured upholstery, carpet that fits poorly, musty odours, rust, mould, mildew, water, sand, silt or mud
  • Check for signs of water damage in the following areas:
    • under the carpets
    • behind the dashboard
    • in the trunk
    • in the spare tire compartment
    • in the glove, fuse and electrical boxes
    • In storage areas, and beneath the seats and dashboard, and
    • in the engine compartment and in the vents
  • Check interior screws for signs of water damage such as discolouration or rust
  • Lift up some of the trim and look for stains, discolouration or rust
  • Test all the vehicle’s electrical systems, including airbag sensors, lights, headlights, windshield wipers, signals, cigarette lighter, radio, horn, heater and air conditioner
  • Look closely at the exterior for ripples on the body that may indicate bodywork has been done
  • Take the vehicle for a road test that allows driving at different speeds on different road conditions
  • Ask for and review the Used Vehicle Information Package or Complete Title History (for vehicles from jurisdictions outside Ontario)

When importing a motor vehicle into Canada -- whether it’s from an area affected by flooding or not -- check with the federal Registrar of Imported Vehicles before you purchase a vehicle.

All consumers should use caution and know the history of the used vehicle they wish to purchase. Buyers should always ask for a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP).The seller must provide a UVIP to a prospective buyer. Be sure to check the brand and vehicle registration history identified in the UVIP as gaps between the vehicle’s model year and its registration history in Ontario may indicate that vehicle was previously registered in another jurisdiction.

For more information about the UVIP, please visit Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP).

Registered dealers (with Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council) in Ontario must provide specific disclosures during the sale, including if the vehicle was in a flood where the water penetrated at least to interior floorboards. For more information visit the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC) -- OMVIC Mandatory disclosures.

For Information on vehicle branding in Ontario and equivalent brands from other Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions, please visit Mandatory Branding Program.

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