How do you spot a vehicle damaged by a flood?

How do you spot a vehicle damaged by a flood?

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ATLANTA -

Some of the greatest damage from Hurricane Sandy was to cars from the flooded streets and garages, and some of those automobiles are expected to trickle into the automobile market. So, how do you pick up on red flags that might indicate that car or truck you want to buy has been flooded?

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, 230,000 vehicles were damaged, and 50 percent of those autos are expected back on the road.  

Officials at CARFAX, a company that runs vehicle history reports, says to add insult to injury, the salty water from Hurricane Sandy will make those vehicles "rot from the inside out."  

It's legal to sell them as long as there is disclosure, but that won't always be the case.  When a seller cleans up a car he might also clean up the title so that it shows no signs of being in a flood.

Here is what you can do to try avoiding buying one of these vehicles. Get inside the car and take a good look.  Does it smell like mildew?  Do you see water stains? Do you see rust under the hood?  These are tell-tale signs.  

You should also start the car, and make sure all of the lights on the dashboard come on.

If you're no mechanic, take the car to one and let a certified mechanic check it out.  Also, go online to vehicle history reporting site so that you can take a look at the title. Both CARFAX and its competitor, AutoCheck, have some free options right now.

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