• Watch out for Hurricane Harvey and Irma flood vehicles

    By: Jason Stoogenke

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, NC - Vehicles that were under water during Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma are now hitting the used-car market. 

    Some sellers go to great lengths to hide the damage, spending hundreds to cover it up, and move the vehicles to states like the Carolinas.  Experts say North Carolina is one of the ten states that has this problem the most.

    So, we went to great lengths to show you how to spot flood damage.

    We asked Carfax to come to Charlotte and bring two cars that look almost identical.  One was submerged during Hurricane Harvey.  The other was not.

    For starters, check the smell.  Be suspicious if the interior smells musty, mildewy, or even the opposite. 

    "Detergents, shampoos, the car trees, all that stuff could indicate that somebody's trying to hide an odor that probably shouldn't be there," said Carfax's Chris Basso. 

    Look for water stains or other moisture.  Stoogenke found bubbles in a tail light of the car with flood damage.

    Look at the metal inside the vehicle (bolts, under the steering column, and the seat rails), on the wheels, under the hood (on the metal components), and even inside the fuse box in the engine.  See if you see rust or corrosion.

    "We tend to overlook some of these obvious signs that are sitting right in front of our face," Basso said.  "Somebody [ends up] paying a lot more than these cars are actually worth."

    "You want something safe.  You want something that isn't going to cause you problems later, especially if you're a hard-working citizen and invest your money into a vehicle," car shopper Rikki Magwood said.

    You can check for flood damage free: http://Carfax.com/flood http://Carfax.com/flood.  You can shop for cars from reputable dealers that all come with free vehicle history reports: http://Carfax.com/cars-for-sale

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