Most funky odors are pretty easily traced back to their origins... the french fries that spilled out of the bag and have found permanent residence under the driver's seat, or the forgotten grocery bag in the trunk from last week. Other, more serious smells, require the assistance of a biohazard company.

Such is the case with a 2006 Ford Expedition purchased by a Michigan woman named Margarita Salais, who purchased the vehicle from Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights. It seems that the dealership acquired the SUV in December of 2010, a cold month in Michigan. Salais purchased the car in March, near the end of the much-too-long winter season.

The cold temperatures apparently masked the smell of rotting flesh. Salais took the car back to the dealership and was told the smell must be coming from a dead animal. Unhappy with that report, Salais called her insurance company, which contracted Elite Trauma Clean-Up in Clinton Township to investigate.

This is where things get a little murky. According to State Farm, the insurance provider, the smell was determined to be of human origin... dead body, anyone? The Detroit News, however, dug deeper and spoke to the Elite Trauma employee who inspected the vehicle, who said that the smell could be traced back only to "rotten meat" of unknown origin.

In any case, Salais still has her rotten-smelling Expedition, which she later found had been used as a rental car and had been reported stolen three times. At the very least, Salais' lawyer believes the dealership should take the car back and pay his client for damages – an amount that would likely vary depending on the real cause of the dead-body odor.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      tenaclark
      • 3 Years Ago
      Anyone who purchases a used vehicle without a CarFax or an AutoCheck vehicle history report is not using good judgement. It is just using good sense.
      Thomas Cooper
      • 3 Years Ago
      Had a similar experience with a car dealership in Albany, New York. They sold me a previously owned SUV; the previous owner was a car rental agency that had a customer who had transported a cat that had apparently urinated somewhere in the vehicle. Initially the dealership refused to do anything about the problem until I wrote to the Attorney General's office, and they were ordered by the AG to find the source and solve the problem or replace the vehicle. After spending days and hundreds of dollars trying to fumigate the auto, It was discovered that the source was a cat urine soaked carpet pad on the front passanger side, which they replaced. Problem solved.
      Lindaflairr
      • 3 Years Ago
      What the heck is Car Fax wasting there money for on commercials if people refuse to protect themselves when making a vehicle purchase. Car Fax people, CAR FAX, CAR FAX, CAR FAX!!!!!!!!!
      Tim
      • 3 Years Ago
      My suspicion is she has fallen victim to the old Limberger cheese on the engine block trick. If you've ever been in a car where that's been done you will swear you are in a crematorium. Then again she just might be right and have a death wagon on her hands. And that kids is why you ALWAYS get a Carfax or Autocheck on any car you buy. Stolen 3 times, who the hell would buy a vehicle knowing that???
        helema alkaabi
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tim
        it wasnt on the carfax report that it was stolen three times it took digging to get that info!!
      mashkalji
      • 3 Years Ago
      car might have been rented by Dexter
      AlphaGnome
      • 3 Years Ago
      I get a lot of grief from my friends for buying my car brand new, but this is why I'm OK with it... Avoiding someone else's headache is worth the hit in depreciation! Carfax doesn't show everything, no matter how good they claim it to be and dealerships will go to great lengths to hide a vehicles past if it is murky... Been there, done that, unfortunately.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @AlphaGnome
        [blocked]
          AlphaGnome
          • 3 Years Ago
          Sloop - We are clearly talking about initial hit in depreciation, IE: as soon as you drive it off the lot. A 6 year old car would not fall into the "slightly used" category and used cars also depreciate, so your point is irrelevant here.
          AlphaGnome
          • 3 Years Ago
          The only cars that are going to take a $15k hit in depreciation are German luxury cars and lets face it... hardly anyone purchases those new anyways. After almost 2 years of ownership, the depreciation on my car is less than $5k, thanks to smart shopping!
      printquick
      • 3 Years Ago
      So let's get this straight, this vehicle was stolen in the past 3 different times. And this retarded lady get's a lawyer because she is hoping to retire on the huge winnings she wants in cash. All this because of what could turn out to be a dead skunk stuck inside a fender panel or above the tranny. And you wonder what's wrong with Detroit?
        William J
        • 3 Years Ago
        @printquick
        And you wonder what's wrong with Detroit? What does Detroit have to do with it? This woman< retarded or not, feels she was wronged. She has the right to sue if she wants to. If I were her I'd track you down and sue you for calling me retarded.
      Krishan Mistry
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hmm, this story would have been a lot funnier if the car were a Camaro. "Upon rigorous inspection, it was found that the smell originated from the trunk, which was promptly opened to find a corpse. The smell had been previously masked by the smell of powdered drugs in the glove compartment." Of course, this would have to be a 4th gen or earlier Maro, as the trunk opening of the new one is only suitable for dead midgets.
      John S
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lady, buy a bottle of Febreeze. The stuff works wonders!
      gtv4rudy
      • 3 Years Ago
      maybe, just maybe could it have been owned by someone who made too many trips to Taco Bell?
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Stolen three times"? Yeah, until the thieves got a good whiff and said, "OMG, what is that SMELL?!?", and promptly dumped it. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry bought the used BMW with the mutant B.O. smell that the detail shop couldn't get out.
      Agilis
      • 3 Years Ago
      The question is, if any of the dealerships who encountered this vehicle, that hid its 'murky' past, should have been allowed to sell this vehicle in the first place. I'd have to question the ethics of the dealerships involved. It was my understanding that cars that have been used illegally, such as drug mules, illegally, or in this case, where someone might have died, are claimed/confiscated by some organization, and finally destroyed.
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