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Used cars damaged by hurricane floods could be sold in Wisconsin

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida damaged thousands of cars. Authorities warn flood-damaged vehicles could end up on the used car market, even in our area. 

The Russ Darrow Group offers advice to make sure you don't end up with a lemon, including checking for any water lines or unusual rust spots. 

"Especially underneath the seats near the metal frame. That's another sign for rust. It's a tell tale sign of water and even then just simple water lines along the door panels or in the trunk," says Jim Flanary with the Russ Darrow group. 

Other warning signs to look for include:

Be alert to unusual odors. Musty or moldy odors inside the car are a sign of mildew buildup from prolonged exposure to water. It might be coming from an area that cannot be completely cleaned. Beware of a strong air freshener or cleaning solution scent. Run the air-conditioner to see if a moldy smell comes from the vents.

Look for discolored carpeting. Large stains or differences in color between lower and upper upholstery sections may indicate that standing water was in the vehicle. A used car with brand-new upholstery is also a warning sign.

Examine the exterior for water buildup. Signs may include fogging inside headlamps or taillights and damp or muddy areas where water naturally pools, such as overhangs inside the wheelwell. A water line might be noticeable in the engine compartment or the trunk, indicating that the car sat in standing water.

Inspect the undercarriage. Look for evidence of rust and flaking metal that would not normally be associated with late-model vehicles.

Be suspicious of dirt buildup in unusual areas. These include areas such as around the seat tracks or the upper carpeting under the glove compartment. Look for caked mud or grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses, and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps, and relays.

 

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