How to spot a flooded car when shopping for a used vehicle

- Experts estimate that 500,000 people lost their vehicles to flooding during Harvey. That means a lot of people will searching for a new one. If you're in the market to buy a used car, make sure you don't get scammed by someone trying to hid the fact that the car they are selling was flooded.

Ford Rusk with RMS Auto Care shares some tips on how to spot a car that has been flooded out and flipped for resale. Rusk says people who are selling these cars will put a lot of effort into hiding the appearance that the vehicle has been through a flood, so check carefully and thoroughly.

  • Open a door and check for a dirt line or water line on the body of the car. The lower part of the car may appear dirtier than the top. It can be an indication of how high the water got up while it was parked.
  • If you open the door and smell a musky smell, the car has probably been through a flood. However, a new car smell is not proof the car hasn't been through the flood -- air freshener could be masking unusual odors.
  • Remove the floor mats and push down on the carpet with your fingers. If water comes up, that car is severely flooded. If there's moisture at all, it's worth getting it checked out by a professional. 
  • Under the hood, the oil in a flooded car may be foggy or milky in texture.
  • Also under the hood, the air filter may be wet and wavy.
  • One thing that is hard to replace that may show a car was in a flood are the bolts that hold down the seats to the floorboard of the vehicle. If the bolts are rusted, it was most likely wet at some point.
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