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Monday, October 8, 2007

Flood Damaged Vehicles - How To Avoid One

Among the many perils used-car shoppers face is buying a flood-damaged vehicle.

"Consumers should be aware that some businesses and individuals may try to sell salvaged and flood-damaged cars without revealing the vehicle history," said David Claeys, purchasing manager of retailer CarMax.

To avoid this, here are a few tips experts say shoppers can follow:

Check for a moldy smell in the car and feel the carpet for dampness.

Be suspicious of an older car with a brand-new interior or carpeting.

Look for rust under the brake or gas pedal.

Check for rust or dirt under the dashboard or floor mats.

Check under the seats for signs of rust on the bolts or screws.

Examine the undercarriage to see if there is excessive rust.

Look in the trunk under the carpet in the spare-tire well for dirt, sand or rust.

Check for corrosion, water marks or a thin brown line on the exterior.

Make sure the electrical system works.

Check the vehicle-identification number with a vehicle-history service such as AutoCheck or CarFax to see if a flood claim has been filed or a salvage title has been issued on the car.

If you think you may have purchased a flood damaged vehicle, contact an attorney in your state who could help you.

Rob Douthit, Cox News Service

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