Flood damaged cars hitting the market - here's what to look for

Flooded-out cars from Harvey and Irma are starting to flood the used-car market, including in Chicago.

But could you pick a lemon out of a line-up?

“Flooded cars literally rot from the inside out,” said Christopher Basso of CarFax.

Basso with CarFax says con-men can clean up salvaged cars.

“With just a little bit of work, they can be made to look like any used car that's on the road right now,” Basso said.

To prove that point, Eliot Silverman of Eliot’s Complete Auto Repair bought a flooded 2013 Ford Focus from Houston. He spent hours cleaning it out - making it look like any other good, used car.

“It looks beautiful. there are no dents, no dings,” Silverman said.

On the surface, Silverman says the car looks great. But once he lifts it up, there’s not just rust but mud.

He even points to holes where water was drained out.

But could the average consumer tell the car was flooded out?

CarFax brought the Ford Focus out to Addison Mall and parked it next to two other Ford Focuses - one 2014 model and one 2015. All had less than 50-thousand miles.

We asked passersbys to try and spot the car with a problem. some had trouble guessing at all.

By the end of our challenge, no one was able to tell us which car was flooded out.

So before you buy a used car, always get a trusted mechanic to check it out. and always get a vehicle history report.

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