5000+ Cars flooded by Hurricane Matthew now up for auction

More than 5,000 cars that were flooded and declared a “total loss” after Hurricane Matthew are up for auction at Copart sites across the Carolina’s and beyond.

Some of those cars, which the company says are intended to be sold for parts, could end up on used car lots.

So 7 News got expert advice on how to make sure you don’t get taken for a ride in this seven news consumer watch.

Among this Copart list is a 2002 Cadillac for $3,700 and a mid 90’s Mercedes-Benz for under $3,000.

But they are far from steals after being submerged in water.

Harry Brady a Spartanburg Auto repair shop owner with five decades of experience says if past floods are any indication many cars sold for parts will end up back on the roads.

“Yeah, I’m afraid so,” he said. And here’s just one reason why he calls that “scary.”

“If the moisture gets in there and it makes connections with any type of that computer, it’s going to stop it, it’s going to blow the computer up,”

It’s a familiar story to a lot of used car buyers.

“Bought it as is, 2 weeks later it was not running well so I took it to the mechanic and they found the mold in the motor,” said Rachel Gosnell in Spartanburg.

“She started noticing the paint chipping off around the bottom of the van, and that’s when we found all the rust and the damage from underneath,” said Sheila Blanton, whose mother has spent $3000 in repairs for the van.

The telltale sign of water damage is rust, but you might be wondering if we’ve had enough time for the metal to oxidize. The answer is yes, takes only about 30 days. And the best thing to do is look under the car, but the easiest sign, is to check for it inside the wheel.

Also, check for fogging inside the headlights, a mildew smell, or a strong cleaning odor to mask it, and grime or soot in the engine and grill.

Above all, don’t buy used without heading this warning.

“Please, please please have it checked by an independent certified technician,” said Brady.

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