How to spot a car with flood damage

How to spot a car with flood damage

TEXAS (KWES) - As many are dealing with the damage of Hurricane Harvey, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is warning Texans about scams. There may be some people taking advantage and trying to sell you a flood damaged car.

"If it's been flooded, there will be a water line, how high the water went into the vehicle," said Oscar Hinojos, while showing underneath the dash of his car.

Hurricane Harvey brought catastrophic flooding to Texas, doing millions of dollars of damage to cars..

"A bunch of people will try to take advantage and try to get the most money out of their car and without people doing the right inspection, they will never know," said Hinojos, who is a lead tech at All-American Chevrolet of Midland.

Hinojos is a mechanic with 20 years of experience seeing firsthand customers having car issues only to find out, they have water damage.

"People don't realize what it is. They think, 'Oh, it's just dirty,' " said Hinojos.

Between 500,000 and 1 million cars were submerged in floodwaters during Harvey. The damage can go unnoticed. Just because it runs, doesn't mean it isn't damaged.

"If it has water trace then most likely it's been through water," said Hinojos. "Any bunch of dirt in hard places to find, to clean. Some people will clean them out, but if you go to small places, you can tell it's been damaged."

Rust is also a tell-tale sign.

"Corrosion or dirt. Door panels will have water trace or discoloration," he said.

Hinojos says even if the car runs, other issues can arise and will cost you plenty of extra money.

"Sometimes you've got to take the whole carpet out, the whole seats out," said Hinojos.

By law in Texas, if a vehicle is damaged in any way the words "flood damage" must be included on the vehicles title. So when you're shopping for a used car, grab the VIN number and check the vehicle history yourself. The federal government has a number of approved services for checking vehicle history.

For more on how to check the vehicle history, visit:

If you have an complaints, they can be filed online with Paxton's office.

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