Beware of flooded cars for sale - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Beware of flooded cars for sale

October 4, 2005

Valdosta - Ray Norton sales and services used vehicles, but before you buy from him or any other car dealer, he says you should always take the automobile to a reputable dealer and get it checked out.

It's especially important in the wake of the recent hurricanes, since many flooded cars could end up being sold right here in South Georgia. State Farm Insurance estimates 1.2 million flood damaged vehicles will be resold in the south. "For the next year, there's definitely going to be some out there and we need to watch out for them," said Norton.

Norton says to start with the interior. "Look at the bottom of the door panels, make sure there's not any mold there, it would be in this area," said Norton.

Be sure to look in the glove compartment for manuals that are water damaged, and check for mildew on the carpet. "Smell it, actually get down there, put your nose down and smell it."

Another easy way to tell is a vehicle has been flooded is to check the cigarette lighter. "It will rust and it doesn't take long, we're talking about 10 days to two weeks and you'll find rust if this thing was underwater," said Norton.

Those are the easy things most customers can spot, but some things are better left to a trained professional. Norton recommends getting the vehicle in the air and having a mechanic inspect it. "You'd see the brake rotors rusted, the fittings, sway bars, you'd begin to see it all rust."

Flood damage doesn't always effect the vehicle immediately, but sooner or later, you'll see the consequences. "You've got all the electrical problems, the wirings been wet and it may run all right for a while but then its going to start shorting out," said Norton.

An inspection only costs about $30.00, and it could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

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