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Car buyers beware of potential vehicles that were in flood waters

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GREENVILLE, Pitt County - Used car buyers ... beware.

Flood-damaged cars from Texas and Florida could be sold in used car lots in our part of the state. But there's ways to spot those kinds of vehicles to make sure you don't end up with a lemon.

"If it has that wet mildewy smell and you have fragrances covering up a smell, it's just something you want to be very very observant of," said Ray Diggins, Internet Sales Manager and former Automotive Service Association mechanic.

Employees we spoke with say you want to be observant anytime you're purchasing a vehicle. That's particularly important after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma flooded areas where cars may have been sold. Also be aware if the price of the vehicle seems really low.

Check for things like moisture in trunk spaces where water will collect easier. Take the spare tire out and look for moisture or any kind of rust or corrosion that may have collected.

"Especially with right now, with all the weather that's going on," Diggins said. "That's a good indication that a car has some sort of water (in it).

"The bolts or anything rusting up under the seat track. Pay attention to all of that. Also, around the edges of the carpet in the vehicle."

Other things to look for are the color of the car and if it's a little darker or lighter from one side to another. If you look under the hood yourself, you want to make sure there's no corrosion there. You can always get a car fax report on the vehicle. The good news is if you buy from a dealer, they have to disclose the damage information. Places such as Craigslist.com don't have to disclose such information.

"Occasionally it can get missed, especially if you buy it really, really quick, but usually if its a true flood victim, its probably gonna go through the system long enough to actually show up on one of the auto checks or the car fax," said booger Thompson, finance manager at Doug Henry of Greenville.

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