Dealer-related Information in Minnesota
Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) provides information on dealer license requirements, dealer forms, and more, and also highlights the issue of flood-damaged vehicles after the detrimental hurricanes of 2005.
The department advises vehicle-related businesses, including auto dealers, that there are other regulations and requirements that may apply to them from city, county, other state, or federal agencies.
For questions about these regulations, contact the local government, or the MN Dept. of Public Safety, Driver & Vehicle Services unit or call (651) 296-2977.
As for flood-damaged vehicles and how dealers and other vehicle-related businesses in Minnesota can avoid losses from them, DVS indicates that more than 570,000 vehicles were flooded out by Hurricane Katrina, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. With additional flooding from Hurricane Rita, used car dealers and consumers may be at risk.
According to Minnesota law, used vehicles are branded "Flood Damaged" in Minnesota if the title application indicates that a vehicle is or was classified as totaled due to water or flood. Late-model vehicles with out-of-state titles branded "Flood" (or a similar term) will be issued Minnesota titles branded "Flood Damaged."
Some vehicles are not covered by these branding laws. They are:
- Commercial vehicles weighing 16,000 pounds or more
- High-value vehicles that are 1999 models or older, and are worth more than $5,000 before damage, or have a weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds
Minnesota DVS offers some tips for dealers and potential buyers to avoid problems with flood-damaged vehicles. The first step is to review the title of the vehicle, checking for terms such as "Flood," "Salvage," "Rebuilt," or "Prior Salvage."
Dealers and buyers should also be skeptical of vehicles with titles from states that have recently experienced floods, hurricanes, or other natural disasters. They should also carefully inspect vehicles before purchasing, looking for signs of flood damage that can include:
- A musty or moldy smell
- Silt in the carpet
- Rust on the top of the motor or on trunk hinges
- Water in the dome light
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