Sniffing out a flood-damaged car

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Be wary of waterlogged cars after major storms. If you do buy, demand a discount. I'm Kristin Arnold with your Personal Finance Minute.

Vehicle pricing experts agree that a flood-damaged car is worth less than its "clean" counterpart, but exactly how much is debated. The range from car experts is anywhere from 20-70 percent, with one expert stating that a "vehicle with flood damage is considered in poor condition and thus not given a value."

The value of flood-damaged cars might be undecided, but identifying one is rather simple. Car shoppers should pay close attention to the smell of must or mold, especially when the climate control fans are blowing air. There may be dirt or small bits of debris stuck in unusual places, such as high on carpet in the footwells or along the rails where the seat slides.

Even if a seller is upfront about a car's flood damage, car shoppers should still be wary. Both mechanical and electrical problems that are a result of the flood damage can appear month s later, possibly leaving the new owner with a hefty repair bill.

For other tell tale signs of flood-damaged cars, visit I'm Kristin Arnold.


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