Floods have drenched much of the United States in recent years, with high water levels that ruined homes and businesses and dealt devastating losses to their owners. A less-publicized casualty of these natural disasters is the number of flood-damaged cars left behind, such as the estimated 500,000 cars that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina [source: Insurance Information Institute].
When subjected to deep flood levels, soaked cars are often classified as totaled and are demolished. Some flooded automobiles, though, end up on used car lots.
Buyers beware: Not all dealers are up front when a car has flood damage, and it can cost you. Even if a car looks good and seems to run fine, expensive problems can appear later as corrosion continues to creep inside critical components. Flood-damaged cars can also cost more than money: These automobiles can be dangerous to drive and the results may even be fatal.
Unfortunately, flood-damaged vehicles can be hard to spot, but knowing the signs can help. Here are 10 ways to determine if a used car is a clean machine or a juicy lemon.