Buying a used car? How to spot flood damage before you purchase it

Posted at 2:06 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 09:53:21-04

If you're in the market for a used car, keep in mind that those vehicles that weathered the hurricanes in Texas and Florida may make their way to fraudsters.  

It happened to Asia Prather a couple of years ago.  

"You can see the rust and tell that the car had been under water," she said.

She wasn't told and didn't notice until she took it in for service.

"They told me they could tell it was a flood vehicle," said Prather.

Scammers can buy them cheap, for $800 to $1,000, and flip them quickly for $3,000.

"You think you're getting a good deal until flood signs show up," Frank Luetz with Desert Car Care Center in Chandler told us.

According to ADOT, flood damaged cars should say "salvage" or "flood damage" on the title. But if scammers remove the history, you wouldn't know.,

They advise examining the carpet and the trunk for dirt and mold, also look under the dashboard and notice if there's a damp smell.

New headlights on an older model could be a giveaway. Aged and worn paint is a tell tale sign. Always take a used car to a mechanic before buying. A car history can also help show where the car has been.