Hurricane-damaged cars making their way to Indiana sales lots

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 file photo, water from Addicks Reservoir flows into neighborhoods as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise in Houston (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

A warning to car buyers.

Vehicles damaged by the recent hurricanes in the south are making their way to lots and other sales in the Hoosier state.

Unfortunately many of these flooded cars look just fine to the untrained eye, but problems are likely leaking beneath the hood.

In Indiana it's legal to sell a flood-damaged vehicle, but you need to have that proper documentation. Indiana State Police hold monthly inspections for flood-damaged cars and they can enter the market again once they're branded as flood-damaged, and a title is then assigned.

While most of the refurbished cars cars are sold with full transparency about their history, state police say buyers beware! Some sellers just won't tell you.

Police tell us there are ways to make sure you're not taking home a damaged car..

It all starts out with finding a reputable seller. Most good dealerships will give you a vehicle history report that clearly documents a detailed history of the car.

According to Carfax's website, you should ask dealerships good questions. Inspecting the title can also help. Look for stamps that read "flood" or "salvage".

Don't forget to actually check out the body of the car. The interior can give a lot of clues as to whether the car was flooded.

"For flooding you want to look for maybe dirt and sediment where it shouldn't be, like on a higher flat surface on the seat, underneath the seat cushions, that type of thing,” says Sgt. Ted Bohner with Indiana State Police. “Look for watermarks from water coming up, discoloring carpeting or the vinyl molding or on the engine block. You look for rust marks, that type of thing."

Don't forget to look to take the car for a test drive. Do notice any smoke or odd smells? Listen for irregular noises, such as strained warning buzzers.

Try every accessory to see if it works properly..

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