Your Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, is essentially your car’s fingerprint. In its entirety, it is specific only to your car. Each car has its own unique VIN number, and can be decoded to provide manufacturing and identification information on any vehicle on the road. Date of manufacture, manufacturer, vehicle type, where it was made, and options such as engine and transmission type, whether a car is a two or four door, and a multitude of other specifications can be gleaned from a VIN number. Essentially, a VIN number will tell you exactly what a car is and where it came from, without even having to see the car.
At some point while waiting for your tank to fill up, you’ve probably wondered what the difference is between the choices of gasoline at the pump. Typically you see three buttons, with a number between 85 and 98, in ascending order and ascending prices. These numbers are octane ratings, which you probably know; but what is an octane rating, really?
Unless you are confident in your abilities as an automotive mechanic, there is really only one rule when purchasing a flood damaged vehicle: don’t do it. Unfortunately, sometimes sellers aren’t particularly straight-forward with their used cars. Many will try to hide the fact that it’s been damaged by flood waters at all, or try to convince potential buyers that the car is in fact fine. “It has gone months with no issues” or “technically it is flood damaged but” are two red flags, and while it isn’t impossible for a flood car to be fine, it’s altogether a good idea to stay away.