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Flooded cars for sale: would you know?

Posted at 6:51 PM, Mar 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-21 21:53:31-04

Thousands of flood-damaged cars are on Valley roads or car lots right now, and you may not even know it. 

Some were caught in hurricanes, cleaned up and put on car lots as if nothing happened.

Would you be able to tell?

We tested consumers at Tempe Marketplace. Chris Basso with Carfax brought three cars.

One of them had been totaled after being submerged in water during Hurricane Harvey. For less than a $1,000 Carfax had that car cleaned up to look like the others.

It's what some con men are doing around the country and here in the Valley.

They're taking flooded out cars, cleaning them up and selling as if nothing happened.

Basso says while the car may look nice and run for a while, it won't last long.

He says water destroys the electrical, mechanical and safety systems.

Water rusts out parts and can be a real danger. You may want to take a close look at the engine, the inside steering column, the lights and more to see potential flood damage.

With his cleaned car, we still found soot on motor wires and a steering column above the pedals that was completely rusted.

But on the outside, the car looked great.

We asked consumers if they could tell which of the three cars was flooded.

Some could not tell.

Before buying any used car, look for rust, dirt, water lines and a musty smell.

Make sure to have a mechanic check it out.

And get a Carfax report to know the car's history.

Click here for a FREE flood check of any car.