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AAA warning car buyers to beware flood-damaged cars

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Many communities in Wisconsin have been devastated by flooding in the past few weeks. 

AAA is warning anyone looking to buy a car to not be fooled into buying a flood-damaged car. See their tips below for how to spot a flood-damaged vehicle: 

  • Obtain a CARFAX Vehicle History Report – This report can potentially reveal if the vehicle has been involved in a flood, major accident, fire, or uncover odometer fraud.
  • Engage your sense of smell to detect any damp or musty odors inside the vehicle.
  • Has the carpet or upholstery been replaced or recently shampooed? Pullback the carpet at different areas and look for mud, dirt or signs of water stains.
  • Inspect the dashboard underside for signs of mud and dirt. This is a particularly hard area to clean.
  • Look under the vehicle for corrosion. It is uncommon to find corrosion in newer vehicles and those that are owned or sold in southern states.
  • Open all doors, hood, and trunk to inspect for corrosion, mud and dirt or discoloration on the door frames, hinges and under the weather stripping. Pay special attention to small spaces and crevices that are difficult to clean.
  • Check all warning lights, window motors, and all electrical components to ensure they are working properly. While a non-working part alone does not mean the vehicle was flooded, it combined with other difficulties is a cause for concern.
  • Always have the vehicle inspected by a quality repair facility prior to purchasing. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities are located across the United States. Nearby locations can be found at AAA.com/Repair.

AAA says drivers should contact their insurance companies before purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle. If the vehicle was purchased prior to the discovery that it was flood-damaged, owners should contact their insurance company for advice.

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