November 12, 2015
OLYMPIA—Expect the impact of killer floods in Texas and king tides in South Carolina to spread beyond those regional economies as thousands of flood damaged vehicles find their way into other states, including Washington.
While it’s not necessarily illegal to sell a salvaged “flood car,” some sellers are unaware of the vehicle’s true history or wouldn’t disclose it if they did. So, it’s up to the consumer to be vigilant when car shopping.
The first step every consumer should take when they find a vehicle is to check its identification number (VIN). The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck service is free, but may not be as comprehensive as a service like Carfax. And, neither is a defense against purchasing an unreported flood car or one with an altered title.
Flood damage can be hard to spot on a vehicle that has been pulled from floodwaters and thoroughly cleaned. They look like any other vehicle, but are a significant risk to public safety because of compromised electronic and mechanical systems.
Dirty floodwater causes rust and damages major mechanical parts and onboard computers that are often located under seats or in other low points in vehicles.
These tips can help to spot potential flood-damaged vehicles:
- Before buying any used car, always get a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic. The extra cost may save money in the long run if major problems are discovered.
- Ask to see the title of a used car. Check the date and place of transfer to see if the car came from a flood-damaged state and if the title is stamped “salvage.
- Use an online vehicle history tracking service like Carfax.com to get more information about a vehicle’s past.
- Check all gauges on the dashboard to make sure they are accurate, and to look for signs of water.
- Test the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work. Also, flex some wires under the dash to see if they bend or crack, since wet wires become brittle upon drying and can crack or fail at any time.
- Check the trunk, glove compartment, and beneath the seats and dash for signs of mud, rust or water damage.
- Look for discolored, faded or stained upholstery and carpeting. Carpeting that has been replaced may fit too loosely or may not match the interior color.
- Check for a well-defined line, or watermark, and for musty odors resulting from mildew.
- If the car’s history seems suspicious, ask the seller if the car has been damaged by floodwater. Get the answer in writing on the bill of sale.
The playlist below features two videos that address how to identify possible signs of a flood damaged vehicle.
January 3, 2013
New specialty license plates featuring the 4-H clover and Washington state flower, the rhododendron, are now available.
Revenue generated from the sale of specialty plates not only goes to the state, but also goes to organizations associated with each plate.
For example, money collected from the sale of the 4-H plate goes toward activities to support the 90,000 Washington boys and girls that participate in 4-H.
And revenue from the state-flower plate generates revenue for garden associations statewide.
Specialty plates cost $40 more than standard plates; renewal costs $30.
Visit the DOL’s website at the links below to learn how to purchase each specialty plate.
State Flower plates
April 26, 2012
Vehicle and boat owners who find themselves in a situation where they need a title certificate immediately now have a new service option called a Quick Title.
A Quick Title is an official certificate of ownership provided to a vehicle or boat owner across the counter at the time a title transaction is processed. Quick Title services are available in 16 locations around our state.
The key benefit of a Quick Title is speed. A title processed normally can take a month or more to arrive in the mail. In most circumstances, this doesn’t present any problems for vehicle or boat owners. However, sometimes an owner will lose a title and need an immediate replacement to prove ownership or sell the vehicle to someone else.
The fee to get a Quick Title is $50. This is in addition to all other fees and taxes due at the time of the transaction. Quick Titles are not available for vehicles reported to DOL as destroyed or for vehicles classified as not eligible for road use.
People seeking a Quick Title must have all of the necessary title documentation completed and ready for processing at the time of the transaction. This documentation will be carefully reviewed for completeness and accuracy before the transaction is processed.
Vehicle and boat licensing offices currently offering Quick Title services include:
- Benton County Auditor’s Office in Kennewick
- Clark County Auditor’s Office in Vancouver
- Cowlitz County Auditor’s Office in Kelso
- Franklin County Auditor’s Office in Pasco
- Jefferson County Auditor’s Office in Port Townsend
- King County Records and Licensing Services in Seattle
- Kitsap County Auditor’s Office in Port Orchard
- Klickitat County Auditor’s Office in Goldendale
- Lincoln County Auditor’s Office in Davenport
- Pierce County Auditor’s Office in Tacoma
- Skagit County Auditor’s Office in Mount Vernon
- Snohomish County Auditor’s Office in Everett
- Spokane County Auditor’s Office in Spokane
- Walla Walla County Auditor’s Office in Walla Walla
- Whatcom County Auditor’s Office in Bellingham
- Whitman County Auditor’s Office in Colfax
Quick Title counter service is not available at the Department of Licensing headquarters office in Olympia or at any location in Thurston County. But more counties are expected to begin offering this service in the future.
August 11, 2009
OLYMPIA — The Department of Licensing (DOL) has redesigned a number of recurring printing projects to achieve significant cost savings and sustain local jobs.
A team with members from the Department of Printing, the Department of General Administration’s Consolidated Mail Services (CMS), and Department of Licensing worked extensively to identify ways to make the design and printing of some of DOL’s largest mailings more efficient. Improvements to these products, which include… (read more)