The recent spate of major hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. has raised the possibility of flood-damaged vehicles making their way up to the local used car market, Virginia officials warn.
Hundreds of thousands of vehicles are thought to have been damaged by hurricane-related flooding. That has prompted warnings from Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles and attorney general.
Although Virginia state law requires owners to report water damage when selling their vehicle, not everyone does. The AG and DMV have released guidelines of what to watch for when purchasing a used vehicle.
Their full statement is below.
RICHMOND (October 3, 2017) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are urging customers in the market for a new or used car to be on the lookout for vehicles with water damage in the wake of massive flooding caused by a recent onslaught of hurricanes that has damaged or destroyed countless vehicles.
“All Virginians purchasing a used car directly from another individual should have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic, but that advice is even more pertinent in the wake of massive flooding when the risk of purchasing a water-damaged car increases,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “Virginians need to be on the lookout for signs of water damage when purchasing a vehicle, and should always trust their instincts – if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
“Nearly one-out-of-three car sales occurs directly between individuals,” DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb said. “The dangers of water-damaged cars can be hidden. Aside from mold and rust, electrical systems could erode and fail over time. Computer sensors could be damaged and safety protections like air bags could fail in a crash.”
State law requires water damage to be reported on a vehicle’s title; however, dishonest sellers can find ways to circumvent these requirements, putting buyers at risk. If a vehicle is branded as non-repairable, the vehicle cannot be titled in Virginia, but a non-repairable car could be titled in another state. If a Virginian purchases that car and tries to title it in Virginia, the vehicle’s history would show it as non-repairable and the customer couldn’t obtain a title.
Virginia Code § 46.2-624 requires insurance companies to report to DMV when they have paid a claim of $3,500 or more on a vehicle due to water damage. Insurers are required to notify DMV of such water damage, even if the owner intends to continue driving the vehicle.
One tool consumers can use to check a vehicle’s history is the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). By centralizing national title records, NMVTIS can help customers take extra precautions to identify flood-damaged, stolen or otherwise unsafe vehicles prior to titling. For more information, visit vehiclehistory.gov.
While there is no sure method to test for vehicle flood damage, here are several inspection tips that may help detect significant water damage:
- Examine the interior and the engine compartment for evidence of water and grit from suspected submersion.
- Check for recently shampooed carpet, and check under the floorboard carpet for water residue or stain marks from evaporated water not related to air-conditioning pan leaks.
- Look for rusting on the inside of the car and under interior carpeting, and visually inspect all interior upholstery and door panels for evidence of fading.
- Check under the dashboard for dried mud and residue, and note any evidence of mold or a musty odor in the upholstery, carpet or trunk.
- Check for rust on screws in the console or other areas where water would not reach unless submerged.
- Check for mud or grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses, and around the small recesses of starter motors, power-steering pumps and relays.
- Complete a detailed inspection of the electrical wiring system, looking for rusted components, water residue or suspicious corrosion.
- Inspect the undercarriage or other components for evidence of rust and flaking metal that would not normally be associated with late-model vehicles.
- Ask a lot of questions and be thorough. Trust your instincts: if you don’t like the answers or the deal sounds too good to be true, walk away.
While these inspection suggestions will not detect flood damage in every case, they do provide some information to protect consumers from purchasing a vehicle damaged by floodwaters. If you are purchasing a used vehicle, always consider having it inspected by a mechanic.
Photo (top) via U.S. Coast Guard
County Wary of Lifetime Dog Licenses — Virginia may soon have a new law that allows localities to issue lifetime dog licenses. However, Arlington officials say that the current 1-3 year dog licenses help remind residents to keep their rabies vaccinations up to date. [InsideNova]
Road Paving Season Begins in a Month — Arlington’s road paving season starts at the beginning of April and runs through October. Pre-paving concrete repairs have already begun. Residents whose streets are set to be paved this year can expect to receive notification letters from the county. [Arlington County]
Wait Times Improved at DMV — After a month of renovation work, the Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles office on S. Four Mile Run Drive reopened in January. Local and state officials held a ribbon-cutting for the renovated DMV location, which features “a new efficient countertop and workstation design to maximize customer flow and efficiency,” thus reducing wait times. [Facebook]
Native Plant Recommendations — Arlington County naturalist Alonso Abugattas has shared a list of his “favorite native plants for attracting and supporting wildlife.” [Mid-Atlantic Gardener]
Nearby: D.C. Issues Record Number of Tickets — The District of Columbia issued 2,760,482 traffic citations last year, an all-time high totalling $300 million in fines. That includes 1.1 million photo-enforced tickets, a 70 percent increase compared to a year prior. [WTOP]
Clarendon Restaurant Opening Basement Lounge — New Clarendon restaurant Ambar is planning to open a cafe, restaurant and cocktail lounge called Baba later this month. The basement space will have a separate kitchen and will serve craft cocktails and La Colombe coffee. [Washington Post, Facebook]
Four Mile DMV Still Closed — Though it was originally supposed to reopen on Monday, the Four Mile Run Virginia DMV office renovations are taking a bit longer than expected. “The reopen date for the Four Mile Run office is now tentatively January 12,” a DMV spokeswoman told ARLnow.com. “Our contractor is working hard to put the finishing touches on everything.”
County Publishes Paperless ‘Citizen’ — Arlington County has published an online-only “bonus” version of its Citizen newsletter, which is usually mailed to every household in the county. “You’re probably recycling lots of tree-based products this month so we’re saving a bit of room in your curbside bin,” the top of the online publication says. [Arlington County]
The DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive closed Thursday night and is not expected to reopen until Jan. 9.
“Upgrades to the office include four additional service windows and a new countertop design that will allow for a more efficient customer flow and minimize customer wait times,” the department said in a press release (below).
The Arlington DMV Customer Service Center (CSC), located at 4150 South Four Mile Run Drive, will temporarily close at 5 p.m. on December 1 for an interior renovation. The CSC is expected to reopen January 9 at 8 a.m. Upgrades to the office include four additional service windows and a new countertop design that will allow for a more efficient customer flow and minimize customer wait times.
During the renovation, customers are encouraged to conduct transactions online at dmvNOW.com. More than 40 transactions are available online including vehicle and driver’s license renewals, address changes, license plate purchases, and reinstatement fee payments.
Customers who need to conduct in-person transactions can visit the new Arlington DMV Metro at Virginia Square, located at 3434 Washington Blvd., accessible via Metrorail Orange and Silver lines at Virgina Square-GMU, Metrobus 38B or ART 52. Limited paid parking is available in the area. Customers may also visit the Alexandria Customer Service Center at 2681 Mill Road. Vehicle-related transactions such as a registration renewals, title issuances or replacements, and license plate purchases, can be conducted at the Arlington DMV Select at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard; Lorton DMV Select at 8210 Cinderbed Road; or Fairfax City Select 10455 Armstrong Street.
The glitch came after a long holiday weekend — DMV offices have been closed since Thanksgiving.
Just after 8:30 a.m. — the office opened at 8 a.m. — a customer told ARLnow.com that some 150 people were waiting around as employees tried to figure out how to get the computers to work.
Luckily, the problem was resolved shortly thereafter.
“We had a brief issue this morning, but it was fixed a little before 9 a.m. and offices should be back up and running,” said Virginia DMV spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker.
Election Security in Arlington — Arlington County Police are on alert for election-related incidents, with additional officers on duty today, though there’s no recent history of election violence or fraud. “We haven’t had any issues of Election Day fraud in Arlington,” says the county’s top election official. [NBC 4]
DMV Opening Date Delayed — The opening of the new Dept. of Motor Vehicles office in Virginia Square has been delayed until Wednesday. [ARLnow]
Sheriff to Receive Bar Association Award — On Nov. 15, Arlington Sheriff Beth Arthur will receive the Arlington County Bar Foundation’s William L. Winston Award. The award “is presented to a prominent member of the Northern Virginia legal community for a record of public service distinguished by efforts to advance the principles of enlightenment, knowledge and education in the American system of jurisprudence, as well as to promote democratic ideals and advance the rule of law.” [Arlington County]
Real Estate Firms Collecting Food, Clothes — Ahead of what may be a cold and snowy winter, 13 Arlington real estate firms have joined forces to collect clothing and food donations for the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network. [Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles is getting ready to open its new Metro-accessible DMV location in Virginia Square.
The office, which will supplement the existing Arlington DMV location on Four Mile Run Drive, is set to open on
Monday, Nov. 7. (See update, below.)
Located on the ground floor of an office building at 3434 Washington Blvd, the office will offer all DMV services with the exception of road tests.
Update on 11/7/16 — The DMV is now not expected to open until Wednesday, Nov. 9. From the Virginia DMV’s Twitter account:
— VirginiaDMV (@VirginiaDMV) November 7, 2016
The Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles office on Four Mile Run Drive is reported to be among those affected by a widespread power outage this morning.
On what may be the hottest day of the year so far, large portions of the Shirlington and Fairlington areas are without power.
According to Dominion, around 750 customers are without power in Arlington and another 800 are without power in Alexandria. As of 9:45 a.m., traffic lights were dark on busy King Street near I-395.
Via its Twitter account, Dominion says that the cause of the outage has not yet been determined, but crews are working to restore power by 2 p.m. A resident said she heard an “explosive sound” before the outage, suggesting a possible transformer failure.
Another Twitter user reports that customers have left the Four Mile DMV office after it lost power.
@marktegethoff I'm not sure of cause just yet, but crews are on it. We expect to restore area by 2PM. Report outage at 1-866-366-4357.
— Dominion VA Power (@DomVAPower) July 7, 2016
— Bryan Prout (@BHProut) July 7, 2016
— Amanda Carlson (@amandaspets) July 7, 2016
Arlington DMV Wait Times — The Arlington DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive has the longest wait times in the state. The average wait time is just shy of 45 minutes. Outside of the D.C. area, the wait times at Virginia DMV offices generally range from 20-25 minutes. [Twitter]
Dueling I-66 Letters to Dr. Gridlock — The widening of I-66 would “cripple Arlington forever,” says a letter writer to the Post’s Dr. Gridlock. “A significantly wider I-66 would be an even worse physical barrier to Arlington residents than I-66 is now,” and “turning I-66 into a repeat I-395 would send a devastating message to Arlington homeowners.” An earlier Arlington letter-writer said critics of widening were “whining” and pointed out that plenty of those who work and live in Arlington use I-66. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
We reported in November that the DMV was planning to end its lease this spring and move to the Barcroft Plaza shopping center in the Falls Church area.
The planned move was not particularly well-received in Arlington nor in Fairfax County, where the new DMV office was to open. Del. Lopez organized a community meeting in Arlington to hear concerns about the plan, while residents of Fairfax County’s Mason District lambasted the plan and the anticipated traffic and parking problems the new DMV would bring.
“The locals really did not like it,” Lopez noted.
In a quick series of deals this month, the DMV was released from its Barcroft Plaza lease and renewed its lease at 4150 S. Four Mile Run Drive, according to Lopez. The state government will even get a reduction on its rent.
“It’s good for the community and it’s good for the state,” Lopez said. “I think everyone wins with this deal — the state government, the property owners and Arlington County. It’s really good news for South Arlington, for all of Arlington in terms of DMV convenience.”
The new DMV office that’s planned for Virginia Square, meanwhile, is still expected to open later this spring. The press release from Del. Lopez’s office is below.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has signed a lease to keep open the Arlington Customer Service Center on Four Mile Run Drive. In addition to continuing convenient service in South Arlington, the DMV will move forward with its plans to open an additional office in the Ballston area to increase service for all Arlington residents.
“I was very happy to work with Commission Holcomb and his team to ensure that DMV service remains in South Arlington. I am also pleased that DMV is adding additional service in the Ballston area of Central Arlington,” said Delegate Lopez (D-Arlington).
In a letter to legislators on Friday afternoon, Commissioner Holcomb commented, “I want to particularly thank Delegate Alfonso Lopez for his able assistance with initiating discussions that resulted in negotiations of an extremely favorable deal for the Commonwealth to remain in South Arlington.”
According to the letter, the new lease includes a substantial rent reduction, money for tenant improvements, a more equitable facility maintenance structure, and a parking lot study/redesign.
Arlington School Administrator Dies — Kathleen Meagher, the director of secondary education for Arlington Public Schools, has died at the age of 53 as a result of a scuba diving accident. Meagher, who joined APS in 2014 after serving as a school administrator in Palo Alto, Calif., was vacationing with her partner in St. Kitts and Nevis, in the Caribbean. [Washington Post, Daily Democrat]
TSA May Stay in Arlington After All — A judge’s ruling has opened up the door to the Transportation Security Administration potentially keeping its headquarters in Arlington. The TSA is currently headquartered in Pentagon City, and was set to move to Alexandria, but may now be able to consider the Stafford Place complex in Ballston, from which the National Science Foundation is moving in 2017. [Washington Business Journal]
Difficult Primary for Poll Workers — Arlington County elections officials are preparing for what might be a challenging primary. With intense interest in the presidential primary, turnout is expected to be heavy. There are 13 Republicans and three Democrats that have qualified for their respective primaries. And a loyalty pledge that’s being mandated by the Republican Party of Virginia may cause confusion and animosity at the polls. [InsideNova]
Va. DMV to Allow Smiling, Sort Of — The Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles is lifting its ban on smiling in driver’s license photos, kind of. New rules will allow smiling, but only without showing teeth. [WJLA]
A Streetcar Named Regret in Fairfax Co. — A Fairfax County official is still lamenting Arlington’s cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar project. Supervisor Penelope Gross said the streetcar “was going to be important to maintain the viability of Skyline.” The streetcar was to run through the Skyline section of Fairfax County, improving prospects for the vacant and partially-vacant office buildings there. Fairfax County is currently trying to figure out what to do about so much vacant office space. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Passenger Thrown from Minivan in Crash — Three people were hurt in an early morning crash on S. Arlington Ridge Road today. Police say a car traveling at 55 mph on the residential street slammed into the back of a minivan near 23rd Street S., causing one passenger in the van to be ejected from the vehicle. [WJLA, NBC Washington]
School Board Approves $100 Million H-B Design — The Arlington School Board has approved a concept design for the Wilson School in Rosslyn, future home of the H-B Woodlawn secondary program. With a 92-space parking garage factored in, the construction cost of the school may exceed $100 million. Also last week, the School Board confirmed that it will again ask the County Board for permission to build a new elementary school on the Thomas Jefferson Middle School campus. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
County Facebook Post Raises Eyebrows — Democratic political operative Ben Tribbett, among others, is calling an Arlington County Facebook post about a local Democratic resolution on the Redskins team name an “inappropriate use of a government Facebook account.” Tribbett was previously hired by the team to defend its name. [Facebook, Blue Virginia]
Nine Arlington Restaurants Make Top 50 List — Nine Arlington establishments have made Northern Virginia Magazine’s Top 50 Restaurants list. The highest on the list is new-this-year Kapnos Taverna in Ballston. [Patch]
Fisette on County’s Support for I-66 Plan — Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette says the county supports a plan for tolling I-66 because it is a regional compromise that’s cost effective, multimodal and not “the typical knee-jerk reaction [of] just widening roads.” Fisette notes that Arlington “was traumatized by the building of I-66 right through some of our neighborhoods” in the 1970s and 80s. [Washington Post]
Four Mile DMV Moving After Losing Lease — Dozens of angry Fairfax County residents came out to a meeting Thursday night to express opposition to a new DMV office in the Barcroft Plaza shopping center. The meeting also revealed more information on why the DMV is moving from its current location on S. Four Mile Run Drive. The DMV reportedly lost its lease due to a planned redevelopment, which has since fallen through. [Annandale VA]
More Info on Courthouse Redevelopment — We now know a bit more about the planned redevelopment of a low-rise office building in Courthouse. A 15-story, 91-unit condo building with 2,000 square feet of ground floor retail space is planned to replace the office building at 2000 Clarendon Blvd. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Eric
The office will be located at 3434 Washington Blvd, behind George Mason University’s Arlington campus and a few blocks from Clarendon. It’s expected to open in April, said Virginia DMV spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker.
News of the new DMV follows news that Arlington’s current DMV, on S. Four Mile Run Drive, will close this spring and move to the Barcroft Plaza shopping center in Fairfax County. That announcement has stirred up some local controversy and prompted lawmakers from both Arlington and Fairfax County to schedule public meetings.
The new Virginia Square DMV will be 6,000 square feet — about half the size of the Four Mile Run office and the future Barcroft Plaza office. It will offer all DMV services with the exception of road tests, Brubaker said. Public parking will be available.
“What we like best about this site is that it is located in a large population center and is about a block and a half from the Virginia Square-GMU Metro station, which will make it convenient for folks who work or live in the area or who use the Metro for travel,” said Brubaker.
Unlike Virginia Square, the new Barcroft Plaza office will offer road tests, according to Brubaker. She noted that “test routes will not travel through residential neighborhoods.”
Photo via Google Maps
News that the Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles office on S. Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington will be moving to Fairfax County next year has stirred up controversy in both locales.
DMV and elected officials in Fairfax are planning a community meeting on Thursday to discuss the DMV office’s move to a busy shopping center along Columbia Pike, reports the Annandale VA blog. Locals there have expressed concern that the new DMV will cause traffic and parking problems in the area.
In Arlington, meanwhile, some residents are unhappy with the idea of having to trek out to Fairfax County to get a drivers license. In order to address the concerns of Arlington residents, Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) will be hosting a town hall meeting with DMV officials this weekend.
From a press release:
Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) is hosting a town hall meeting with Senior DMV Officials to discuss the relocation of the DMV Customer Service Center on Four Mile Run Drive in Arlington. The meeting will take place on Sunday, December 6th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at the Walter Reed Community Center. The meeting will be an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and learn more about the decision.
WHO: Delegate Alfonso Lopez, Senior DMV Officials
WHAT: A town hall meeting to discuss relocating the DMV office on Four Mile Run Drive
WHEN: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
WHERE: The Walter Reed Community Center’s multipurpose room (2909 16th St S, Arlington, VA 22204)
The DMV office will move to the Barcroft Plaza shopping center, at 6345 Columbia Pike in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County, about four miles away from its current location.
The new DMV is expected to open “by late spring,” at which time the Four Mile Run location will close, said DMV spokeswoman Brandy Brubaker.
Arlington County will retain its DMV Select office at the county government building in Courthouse (2100 Clarendon Blvd). The DMV Select office offers various vehicle titling and registration services, but does not issue driver’s licenses, learners permits or ID cards.
Photo via Commonwealth of Virginia