There are many reasons why people prefer to buy used cars. They are cheaper, cost less to insure, and attract fewer dealership and registration fees. Used vehicles have advantages and disadvantages. A good one can serve you for a reasonable number of years, but a bad one can make your life more difficult.

When you are buying a used car, it is important to know what you are doing. You do not want to make the wrong decisions or buy a lemon.

The recent uptick in flash floods and the rise in auto fraud cases have made it difficult to buy a used car in Texas. If you are in the market for a car right now, there are several steps you can take to ensure that flood waters haven’t damaged the vehicle you buy.

Checklist for buying a used car in Texas

If you’re looking to buy a used car in Texas, you need to be careful when purchasing a vehicle that has been damaged by flood. We’ll explain how to ensure your car doesn’t have hidden damage that could cost you thousands.

Here are some things you can check when you use a Texas license plate lookup tool online.

Check for physical evidence of flooding

Is there a musty odor in the car? Are there signs of rust? Does the oil appear watery? If so, these could be indications that the vehicle was flooded.

Check the title of the car

Flooding problems plague Texas. After the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian, more than 60,000 cars have been written off by insurance companies as flooded cars to be sold for parts. However, some unscrupulous individuals are sneaking these cars back into the state.

People who collect the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) numbers of other cars and attach them to flooded vehicles can effectively erase the salvage title previously attached to the car, by transferring a new title with a different VIN.

An insurer may reject your application for comprehensive insurance coverage if the vehicle you are purchasing has a salvage title. You will not be able to get comprehensive coverage for a car written off by an insurer as no longer roadworthy.

To prevent problems, check a car’s title before buying it. The title may look clean on paper but not cover the car. One way to find out is to look up the VIN or license plate number on EpicVin.

EpicVin is a free online service that allows you to perform a vehicle history report once you input the VIN or license plate number.

EpicVin gathers data about the car by running the VIN or license plate number through the data of insurance companies and government agencies like the National Motor Vehicle Title System (NMVTIS). EpicVin provides a report on the car’s use, pictures of the car from previous sale listings, accident reports, odometer readings, and whether it has been reported stolen.

Type in the VIN or license plate number of the car you want to buy. You’ll know if it’s right for you within a few seconds.

Check the VIN

Make sure that the vehicle identification numbers on the car match. Some people have been known to clone VINs.

If a car seller tries to sell you a car with a cloned VIN, you might notice that the VIN on other parts of the vehicle–like the engine block or door frame–has been tampered with.

Before you buy a used vehicle, check all the parts for the Vehicle Identification Number. Make sure that each number matches.

For example, the VIN of a Honda Civic 2020 can be found on the dashboard and by the door jamb of the driver’s side. It also appears under the front passenger seat floor mat.

Be sure to check all the car parts, including the VINs on the title and vehicle. Use a VIN lookup tool to verify that everything matches up.

If you need help locating the vehicle identification number on a car or want to be certain that an incorrect VIN isn’t deceiving you, there is another way to check your vehicle’s history.

To perform a license plate lookup in Texas, simply type in the plate number and state. EpicVin will provide you with the results at no extra cost.