Buyer Beware: Tips to prevent you from buying a flooded vehicle

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Many flooded vehicles lost during Hurricane Harvey might have ended up at the Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown. Thousands of cars and trucks are waiting for inspection by adjusters.

According to the Insurance Council of Texas, 165,000 storm related automobile claims have been processed so far, totaling 2.5 billion dollars in damages. That number is expected to increase. But what about the vehicles that weren't insured? Those are the ones to watch out for.

Chris Basso with CarFax says it's important to do your research before buying any used vehicle, especially right now in Houston.

"Texas, and the city of Houston already lead the nation in the amount of flood damaged cars that are on the road right now, and given the recent disaster that we've seen, so many more are going to be hitting the market sooner than later," Basso told us.

Flooded vehicles could have safety issues down the road, including failure with anti-lock brake systems and air bags. So do your homework thoroughly before buying anything used.

"Start with a Carfax report. A thorough test drive," Basso said.

That Carfax report could tell you if the vehicle was involved in a flood. When looking over the vehicle, be sure to inspect those hidden areas.

"On the inside of the car, rust on the seat rails, nuts and bolts, seat belts, water lines around the trunk and the engine compartment, and silt and debris that are strewn throughout the vehicle are all signs that that car was underwater in a flood," Basso explained.

And most importantly, get it checked out by a professional.

Mike Poutous with Poutous Automotive says an experienced mechanic has the tools to inspect a vehicle in areas you may not be able to reach.

"Bring it to a certified mechanic and have them check it out. They can look behind the kick panels and stuff like that and see if there's any water lines, or in the trunks and see if it's gotten wet," Poutous said.

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