I-TEAM: How to spot flooded used cars

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Flooded cars could soon wash up here in Michigan.

According to Carfax, Michigan ranks in the top 10 states where flooded cars are re-sold. So what should you be looking for? Local mechanics say a big tell is the odor. The old phrase of “If it smells like cologne, leave it alone” rings true in this case.

In his 13 years of fixing cars, Mike Meulman has seen a flooded car or two.

“People bring it in for checks, they just bought the car and now they're having all types of electrical problems and you get into it and you're like wow, this car has been flooded,” Meulman said.

Water can damage electronic components and engine parts.

“Cars have been sitting down in the water there what? Two weeks down in Texas. It won't take long now for those cars to rust up and the corrosion gets in all the sensors, damage to the motor,” Meulmam said.

That's why experts at Carfax are sending out a warning.

Meulman recommends do your research and also buy a car from some place you know.

“Reputable dealers,” says Meulman. “The big thing, check the Carfax."

Also, like most car shopping, do a walk around.

“You can check for water,” says Meulman. “Rusty, mildew kind of smell is real hard to get out. Check the interior of the car. If it looks newer, like it's been replaced compared to the rest of the car."

And there's also the obvious---find out where the car is coming from.

“A lot of times on the Carfax, it will tell you where it's from.

Final step ---run the vin number--that's the vehicle identification number. You can check with The National Insurance Crime Bureau by click here:

For more tips from Carfax, click here.

Have a tip for the I-Team? Email us at and follow me on Twitter @WalterReports and on Facebook at

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