Flooded cars could pose problem for unsuspecting buyers

Chris Basso of the website Carfax says to beware of cars that may have been damaged by flooding. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Chris Basso of the website Carfax says to beware of cars that may have been damaged by flooding. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

With the latest flooding in Louisiana, consumers are becoming more vigilant as they keep watch for dried-out cars on the market.

Analysis from a well-known company shows there are 10,000 of those lemons in the Philadelphia area.

When floodwaters douse a vehicle’s computers and mechanical components, that car is far more likely to cause you trouble, said Chris Basso of the website Carfax.

“Most likely, sooner rather than later, it’s going to impact the safety and electrical systems of that car,” he said. “And if it happens when you are driving. it’s going to end up in catastrophic failure.”

Basso said car shoppers can look for some signs of flooding — even if the former owner has been able to escape having the title branded as damaged.

“Rust on the interior, the seat rails, nuts or bolts, brittle or cracking wires underneath the dashboard and moisture in the trunk or engine compartment,” are indications of flooding,  he said.

Nationwide, about 250,000 used cars on the road were flood damaged.  A free report on your car —or any car you are considering buying — is available at  www.carfax.com/flood.

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