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Car buyers beware of potentially flood-damaged vehicles

The hurricanes in the south will create a major problem that will make it’s way to the Miami Valley- and it’s something car buyers need to steer clear of.

Nearly half of automobiles damaged in flooding are refurbished and resold, according to the F.T.C, and many of these cars and trucks carry hidden mechanical and electronic issues that may not be apparent right away.

There are steps you can take to keep from buying a flood damaged vehicle, according to Mark Breining, manager of Grismer Tire and Auto in Dayton.

  • check the vehicle’s VIN at CarFax or a similar site.
  • inspect for mildew and musty smells.
  • look for water damage and moisture in the headlights and console.
  • pull back the interior carpet and check for rust.
  • look under the spare tire for standing water or moisture.
  • inspect underneath the vehicle for excessive rust.

If you have any doubts, have a professional mechanic inspect the vehicle for hidden water damage, said Breining.

If you suspect someone is trying to sell you a flood-damaged vehicle report them to police and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Hot Car Act takes a step forward

The tragic death of a child in a hot car in Mason last month triggered fear and sadness in many parents around the Miami Valley.

“It breaks my heart,” said Amber Idell who was pushing her little girl in a swing at Orchardly Park in Oakwood, “I just couldn’t imagine.”

FULL COVERAGE: Child dies in hot car in Warren County

The Hot Cars Act of 2017, introduced in both the House and Senate, and passed with bipartisan support in the House earlier this week- would require new vehicles to have a warning system to alert drivers to a child in the back seat.

“We are just trying so hard to get this bill passed. We’ve been educating and raising awareness for 20 years now and what we know now is that education and awareness simply aren’t enough,” said Amber Andreasen with the child safety organization,

RELATED: New bill aims to stop hot car deaths

So far this year 36 children have died in hot cars- last year a total of 39.

“The worst thing a parent can do is think that this won’t happen to them,” Andreasen said.

To avoid a hot car tragedy involving a child, safety experts recommend:

  • look before you lock.
  • open the back door of your vehicle every time you park.
  • keep a stuffed animal in the car seat and move it to the front seat when your baby is buckled in to serve as a visual reminder.
  • put your purse, wallet, cellphone or even one of your shoes in the backseat.
  • set a reminder on your smartphone.
  • have a family member call you everyday when you are dropping off or picking up a child.

Nissan and G.M. have already implemented rear seat alert systems in new vehicles.

There are also high tech car seats, car seat sensors, and other electronic devices to help remind drivers to a child in the back seat.

Wellness at work -does it work?

It’s estimated that over 80 percent of large employers now offer some sort of wellness program with some offering big money to get fit, but research shows it might not always pay off.

Some employees receive insurance cost reimbursements and others receive funds in health spending accounts for exercising and completing health screenings.

“I think it’s a motivator because you are getting paid to be healthy and then it helps you pay for the things to help you be healthy,” said Becki Wessel who receives H.S.A. funds through her husband’s insurance plan.

Wellness programs help employees and the employer, according to Wright State University wellness director Doug Newton.

“Research shows the return on investment is good for reducing healthcare costs, but also indirect cost such as productivity and absenteeism,” said Newton.

Some programs like- HealthyWage- offer money to lose weight and tout many success stories.

However, a two year study published in Health Affairs found that workers offered money to drop pounds didn’t lose any weight and neither did their unpaid counterparts.

Work wellness programs can create overall health benefits for workers that might not show up on a scale, according to Newton.

“The incentive becomes more intrinsic. They say “I’ve enjoyed doing this - it’s good for my health and I feel good doing it - it’s making a difference in my life,” said Newton.

Even more surprising, a 2016 Rand Corporation survey found that penalizing workers for failing to meet health benchmarks was a more effective motivator than incentives like cash.

Rachel Murray is a WHIO-TV consumer reporter. You can watch her reports on News Center 7, follow her on Twitter @RMurrayWHIO, and like her fan page on Facebook.

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