How to Know if You're Looking at a Flood Damaged Vehicle

REGION 8 -- A warning for those in the market for a used car. Auto dealers advise shoppers to watch out for vehicles that have been damaged in Hurricane Katrina. The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates that half of the estimated 570-thousand hurricane-damaged vehicles will be repaired and sold.  Ronnie Wright with Hoppe Auto Sales said, “A lot of times you can't just tell if a car's been underwater just by popping the hood and looking inside you need to really get under the car and inspect it.’’


So what are the tale-tell signs of a car that's been underwater.  “If there's any mildew or mold type odors inside the car, especially when you turn on the air conditioner, that might be a sign,” said Wright.


These ''lemon'' cars aren't always easy to spot, you have to know what you're looking for.  All cars will have normal wear and tear on them, but there are specific problems that are caused by flood damage, “Check the carpets real well.  Take off a piece of trim and peel the carpets back to check and see if there's any sign of water,” said Wright.    


“If there's any doubt at all after your own personal inspection just take it to a mechanic,” said Ronnie Wright, “You'd be better off spending a little money up front than spending a few large repair bills later on.”  And remember, some people will be honest and tell you up front if the vehicle has flood damage while many others won't.