Buyer beware: flooded cars could hit car lots

Used-car buyers beware: flood-damaged cars could start popping up in small car lots, and consumers should know what to look for so they don't purchase a lemon.

Joe Asbury and the guys at Cars and Concepts on N. Manhattan Ave. have been extremely busy assessing and repairing flooded cars.

"This one, from what I remember the customer telling me, [water] was up to the hood," Joe said while standing over a Mercedes SL500.

The hood, doors and windows were cracked.

Like most of the cars they're working on, mechanics are trying to dry them out.

"The carpet was completely soaked. You could put your hand on it and water would go in between your fingers, so I would guess about an inch of water in the car," Joe explained.

Flood-damaged car repair costs can range between $1,000 and $30,000 depending on the damage, year, make, model.

"Nothing good can come of it. You may get lucky but there's always that chance that it can be in the 'thousands of dollars' range," Joe told FOX 13.

If buying a used car, the smell test works great and he suggests: looking for leaves and debris possibly jammed in the crevices under the hood and undercarriage, look for water rings around the edges of the interior carpet, check under the hood for corrosion, and visiting a qualified mechanic for an individual inspection.

"Look at the VIN number, check the Carfax, use all the tools out there that you can, and still be proactive and have that pre-purchase inspection done," Joe added.