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How to spot a flood-damaged vehicle

Car-damaged vehicles may be repaired and presented as never having been flooded. Here are some ways to spot a water-damaged vehicle:

• Pull back the carpets at different areas to look for mud, dirt and water stains. Watch out for carpets that seem new, recently shampooed or mismatched to the rest of the interior

• Fogged up windows

• Inspect the underside of the dashboard for signs of mud and dirt, as this is a hard area to clean

• Look under the vehicle for corrosion

• Open all doors, trunk and hood to inspect for corrosion, mud, dirt and discoloration. Pay attention to small spaces and crevices, door frames, hinges and under weather stripping

• Use your sense of smell to detect damp and musty odors inside the vehicle

• Turn of the ignition. Check all warning lights, especially the antilock brake system and airbag lights; window motors; and electrical components. Any failure may indicate a flooded vehicle

• Test lights, interior and exterior, and windshield wipers, turn signals, power sockets, radio and air-conditioner

• Flex some of the wires beneath the dashboard. Wet wires will become brittle upon drying and may crack.

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