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.

Minnesota Auto Industry Regulations

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 Department of Public Safety, Driver and Vehicle Services Dealership Licensing Department or call (651) 201-7800.

Beware of Damaged Vehicles

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:

  • Motorcycles
  • Commercial vehicles (varies by weight).
  • High-value vehicles.

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

Minnesota DVS advises dealers and other vehicle buyers to have vehicles inspected by experienced mechanics, and to use commercial services to get vehicle histories and other checks.

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