Islanders should beware of flood-damaged vehicles

Islanders are reminded to learn the history of a vehicle before buying it.

With recent hurricanes to the south, flood-damaged vehicles could be resold in Prince Edward Island. Flood damage is not always obvious, so consumers must rely on good inspection reports and learn to spot unusual problems; vehicle histories can be checked through or

“Vehicles cross the border every day for resale, and some may come from areas hit by flooding,” said Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Paula Biggar. “With that in mind, it is important for consumers to do their homework and thoroughly research any vehicle before they buy so they can avoid serious problems down the road.”

Problems linked to flood damage can include the malfunction of computer systems, brakes, engine control modules, airbags, headlights, windshield wipers, power accessories, and stereo equipment. Many flood vehicles are deemed non-repairable because the vehicle has been submerged underwater and contaminated in a toxic mix of fluids, wastes, sewage and other biohazards that render the vehicle unsafe and unhealthy for vehicle occupants.

Any vehicle branded as non-repairable or flood or water damaged is not allowed to be registered for use on the highway and is considered for parts only. This increases the importance of consumers having an accurate vehicle history before purchasing.

All vehicles imported into Canada must first go through the Registrar of Imported Motor Vehicles. Anyone looking to import a vehicle must first contact the Registrar of Imported Motor Vehicles at or 1-888-848-8240 to ensure that prospective purchases meet all Canadian entry requirements.


Media contact:
April Gallant



Tips to avoid purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle:

  1. check IBC’s VIN Verify Service;
  2. select a reputable dealer;
  3. inspect the vehicle for water stains, mildew, sand or silt under the carpets, floor mats and head liner cloth, and behind the dashboard;
  4. inspect the interior upholstery and door panels for fading;
  5. check for rust on screws on the console or in other areas that water doesn’t normally reach;
  6. look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Aluminum and alloys will have a white powder and pitting;
  7. check for mud or grit in the spare tire compartment and alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays;
  8. check for moisture, mildew or grime inside the seatbelt retractors;
  9. have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle before buying;
  10. check door speakers, as they are often damaged in floods; and
  11. trust your instincts. If a deal seems too good to be true, walk away.

General Inquiries

Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy
3rd Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street,
P.O. Box 2000,
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-5100
Fax: 902-368-5395

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