DALLAS (CBS11) – It’s estimated between 500,000 and 1,000,000 vehicles were flooded during Hurricane Harvey.
Carfax spokesman, Chris Basso, said the company bought a 2013 Ford Focus, damaged by flood waters in Houston, at an auction.
“This car was literally a waterlogged wreck. There was water up to roof line,” said Basso.
Basso said after a few hours of repairs costing a couple hundred dollars, the car looked as good as new.
Carfax brought the Ford and two other used cars that had not been flooded, to a North Texas parking lot to see if consumers could spot the telltale signs of a flooded car.
Basso said you need to look for corrosion, rust on the outside and inside of the car or any leftover moisture.
“You can see the condensation trapped inside here, not something that could typically happen,” said Basso pointing to the water behind the taillights of the car.
Consumer Justice had more than a dozen consumers check out all three cars and say which one they thought had been flooded.
“I’m checking the brakes first,” said Cody Fails.
“Kinda rusted and worn out,” said Felicia Hollie, pointing to the belt on one of the cars.
And even though many of the consumers pointed out the flood car’s red flags, from the condensation to corrosion, almost all of them still guessed wrong.
Les Vance was the only tester to get down on the ground and smell the carpet.
“Yeah, this one definitely has the mold smell. I would say you’d have to definitely have to be concerned about this one,” said Vance after smelling the Ford’s floor mats.
“You really have to be aware, especially after the event we had in our state,” said Vance.
Chris Basso of Carfax says the test shows how easily these dangers can be hidden from drivers.
Before you buy, Basso suggests going for a thorough test drive, getting a vehicle history report and getting your own mechanic to check it out.