HOUSTON, Texas (KIAH) – When hurricanes hit, vehicles are often flooded. But what happens to these flood-damaged vehicles? In some cases, the vehicles and vehicle parts start appearing on the market for sale even hundreds of miles away which can then be sold to unsuspecting buyers.
Scammers looking to make a few bucks know how to clean up a damaged vehicle. So how can consumers make sure they don’t fall victim to these scams? Remember these tips from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for spotting flood-damaged vehicles when shopping around:
Sniff Test: If the car smells musty, there is a high likelihood it has been exposed to water. If it has a strong smell of deodorizer or air freshener, it is possible the seller is trying to mask the smell of mildew.
Dirt and Grime: Mud, dirt, or waterlines inside the vehicle are possible signs of flood damage. Don’t forget to check hidden spots for dirt and watermarks, like the trunk, glove box, and under the dashboard.
Rust and corrosion: Check under the vehicle to see if there is an unusual amount of rust or corrosion for the vehicles age and location.
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For more information head over to NHTSA.gov.