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Consumer Alert: How to protect yourself from buying a flooded car

Flooded Cars

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The National Insurance Crime Bureau is warning consumers after an estimated 500,000 cars in Texas were damaged in Hurricane Harvey.

These flooded cars could make their way to other states in coming weeks, but there are red flags to watch out for.

Any time you’re buying a used car, do a VIN check. You can use sites like the National Insurance Crime Bureau  or Carfax’s VIN tool. Unfortunately, when it comes to the potential of a flooded car, that won’t cover all your risks. These cars are often cleaned up and stripped of their original VINS so have a mechanic check the car out before you hand over any money.

It’s also a good idea to look for other trouble signs like moisture, mildew and grime under the carpets and inside the seatbelt retractor. Check for rust on screws in the consoles and other places water normally doesn’t reach.

A good place to check is the spare tire compartment. If their is mud or grime, that’s a good sign something’s wrong.

Experts also said if you see white powder or pitting on aluminum and allows, think twice about that purchase.

For more signs of flooding and a checklist for detecting flood damage, click here.

More Resources:

National Motor Vehicle Title Information System

National Insurance Crime Bureau VIN check

Consumer Reports: Beware the Flood of Flood Cars