Flooded cars already being put up for sale

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Flooded cars are already starting to trickle off dealer lots, and that trickle could become a stream in the coming weeks, according to a local vehicle inspection company.

"We've inspected over 100 cars in the last three days, we've already found seven flood-damaged vehicles, new and used. But yes, they're ending up back on the streets, back to consumers," Shane Vaughn, president of Auto Exam, a pre-sale vehicle inspection company, said.

An estimated 500,000 vehicles are flood-damaged in the Houston area. About 30,000 of those vehicles have been towed to Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown.

The facility's expansive outdoor acreage is serving as a waypoint for the vehicles before they are junked, and in some cases, auctioned.

Auto Exam and other companies are doing brisk business, inspecting cars brought in by potential buyers.

For a little more than $100, buyers get peace of mind in a sea of uncertainty.

Car shoppers can do some of the homework with these quick tips to identify potential flood cars:

  • Avoid cars with moisture trapped in headlights/taillights
  • Check under the seat, avoid cars with rusty seat rails
  • Pull up the carpet. Brittle carpet pad could mean the area was wet, then dried
  • Check the spare in the trunk. The spare "well" can hold water, even if the rest of the car is dry

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