Sometimes tragedy begets a miracle. Other times, tragedy begets more tragedy. The floodwaters from Hurricane Florence have yet to fully recede in some parts of the Carolinas. Once they do, it will be time for all of those affected to rebuild their homes, their businesses and their lives. Even before the last drop has dried on the land around the Mid Atlantic US, the adjusters will have been hard at work for some time, getting figures tallied up, People need money, after all, to get back on their feet.

What the auto industry sees time and again, unfortunately, after storms like this – the kinds of storms that produce mass flooding – are flood cars. Simply put, flood cars are those that have been through a flood. They appear for sale not too long after a storm as passed on sites like Craigslist, Autotrader, etc. These cars invariably have critical issues with them that often last until they make their final trip to the junk yard. Rust. Electrical issues. Glitches of all sorts. Mold. The list is never ending. So, how do you spot a flood car?

Some telltale signs include mildew or a musty smell. The funk that comes after a flood is not going away with a simple detail or an overcorrection with a bottle of Febreze.  Generally, you will find dirt where dirt would not normally be. The silt from a flooded area will get into every last corner of  a vehicle. You can check under door jamb trim and other places where carpet meets plastic. Rust is another telltale sign but may not show up immediately. Vehicles flooded by salt water will show rust more quickly and profoundly than those flooded with freshwater.

The final tell tale sign is the deal that is simply too good to be true. If you find a vehicle that is miles below Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book pricing, you should get a good look at it prior to purchasing. Frankly, this should be the manner of proceeding prior to any used vehicle purchase.

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