How to spot a flood-damaged car - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

How to spot a flood-damaged car

Posted: Updated:
NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

Car buyers beware: Superstorm Sandy can put a big damper on your upcoming vehicle purchase. Flooded vehicles are showing up all over auction blocks and online retailers.

Chris Basso of CARFAX is a flood damage expert when it comes to cars. He says some of the signs of having a flooded out car can be pretty obvious. He took a look at one of our news trucks took a major beating from Hurricane Sandy.

Chris says if you look along the back firewall you can see a water line along the back side that shows water was clearly in the engine compartment. Plus you can see rust on the engine. Those are pretty obvious. But there are other tip-offs you can see before you even open the door;

"Look at the window all the condensation that's built up on here, clearly this thing has been under water," Chris says.

But there's more. You could hide the rust. Maybe even wipe off the condensation, but take a whiff.

"The smell is your first clue that this car was under water," Chris says. "It's just almost unbearable, but you can see standing water in the cup holders here."

But what if you take the car to a good detailer?

"It's a temporary fix, it's a temporary fix," says Debbie Bjorkner of Auto Detailing Center. "But you're dealing with your health also, inhaling mold spores, you have children that are in these cars and their lungs aren't fully developed even as youngsters."

While Debbie says she'd never clean up a car just to dupe a buyer, there are those who do it. So, trust your nose.

But here's something only a mechanic can fix: condensation inside the headlights. It is impossible to hide without replacing the light.

Cracked insulation is also a problem. But, for a couple of grand all the insulation in the car could be replaced and you may not know the difference.

Tony Rota, the owner of Log Cabin Service, always reports repairs to CARFAX. But he says some repair shops see a quick buck.

If you think you don't have to worry about getting a flood-damaged car if you live in a place that was never flooded, think again.

Chris from CARFAX says flood-damaged cars, rotting from the inside out, are already showing up thousands of miles away;

CARFAX usually shows accidents, flood damage and repairs. And the car's title is supposed to show it too. But if you retitle the car in another state, the title may come back clean with no reference to flood damage. It's called title washing.

So there is a lot to look out for.

CARFAX does have a free service on its website if you want to find out if a car may be damaged in a flood. All you need is the Vehicle Identification Number.

www.carfax.com

  • Your MoneyMore>>

  • Conference call: your bathroom break

    Conference call: your bathroom break

    Thursday, August 21 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-08-22 02:47:23 GMT
    We asked several people what they do when they are on a conference call. Most of them answered: "The bathroom." Yes, according to a survey conducted by InterCall, 47 percent of 500 people admitted to taking a conference call from the bathroom.
    We asked several people what they do when they are on a conference call. Most of them answered: "The bathroom." Yes, according to a survey conducted by InterCall, 47 percent of 500 people admitted to taking a conference call from the bathroom.
  • The future of books and bookstores

    The future of books and bookstores

    Thursday, August 21 2014 8:46 PM EDT2014-08-22 00:46:06 GMT
    The advent of dedicated e-readers and other devices that allow us to read electronic books has dramatically changed the publishing industry as well as the book retail industry. As an avid reader, Julee Allen is always buying books. And she prefers to buy them in person at a book store. In this age of Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers, some may call Julee and others who prefer to buy actual books part of a shrinking breed.
    The advent of dedicated e-readers and other devices that allow us to read electronic books has dramatically changed the publishing industry as well as the book retail industry. As an avid reader, Julee Allen is always buying books. And she prefers to buy them in person at a book store. In this age of Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers, some may call Julee and others who prefer to buy actual books part of a shrinking breed.
  • Using your credit card rewards

    Using your credit card rewards

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:56 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:56:50 GMT
    Cashing in your credit card points can be a great way to shop. You've earned them. But analysts say a lot of people don't use these rewards simply because they forget. Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor for thestreet.com, has some tips on how you can make sure to make the most of your rewards.
    Cashing in your credit card points can be a great way to shop. You've earned them. But analysts say a lot of people don't use these rewards simply because they forget. Lauren Lyons Cole, a personal finance contributor for thestreet.com, has some tips on how you can make sure to make the most of your rewards.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices