28This year’s flooding across Texas damaged up to 10,000 vehicles, according to estimates from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

When buying a used car, the first thing to do is get it inspected by someone you trust.

Order a CarFax or other report based on the VIN of the vehicle you are looking at.

Check the status of the title. A “flood title” means the car has damage from sitting in water deep enough to fill the engine compartment.

Other tips:

When car shopping, watch for:

  • New upholstery in a used vehicle or upholstery that doesn’t match the carpeting
  • Rust in high places like door hinges and trunk latches
  • Rust under the gas and brake pedals
  • Silt or mud under the seats or in the glove compartment
  • Beads of water in the dome light
  • Damp floor carpeting

To prevent yourself from purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle:

  • Smell inside the vehicle. A musty or moldy smell indicates trouble.
  • Bend wires underneath the dashboard. After drying, wet wires become brittle like twigs.
  • Turn on the ignition and make sure all dashboard warning and accessory lights properly illuminate.
  • Test the air conditioning, heater, windshield wipers, radio, and turn signals several times.
  • Make sure the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the dashboard matches the VIN on the door jamb.

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