Bought a used car in Florida? Make sure it's not a flood car

Every year Americans buy more used cars than new ones.

An investigation uncovered that many cars that were damaged by floods caused by hurricanes are for sale in Florida. A Carfax report stated there are 350,000 flood-damaged cars in the U.S. — and Florida is Ground Zero for these vehicles.

“This is one of the top states where flood-damaged cars end up, either from hurricanes happening here or from those cars moving here,” Chris Basso of Carfax said.

There are ways to determine if a car has experienced flood damage.

Ed Roberts, the operations director for Bozard Ford in St. Augustine, Florida, said flood-damaged cars rot from the inside out. Checking under the carpets and the dash that may reveal peeling from the edges. That’s one way to spot water damage, Roberts said.

"Vehicles today have countless numbers of modules for computers and carpets and insulation underneath them will hold the water, Roberts said. “It takes time to start showing issues.”

Other ways of spotting water damage are to check the air filter and the engine oil for signs of water and discoloration, as well as excessive corrosion.

Basso warns those buying cars to be aware of the possible risks to their safety that a water-damaged vehicle could pose.

"Even the safety systems like your airbags and anti-lock brakes can be compromised, and that essentially turns your car into a ticking time bomb," Basso said.

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