Officials explain how to avoid buying vehicles with flood damage

WATCH: How to avoid purchasing flood-damaged cars

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Buying a car is stressful enough. Buying a flood-damaged car is more than most people bargain for.

Residents around the Memphis area woke up Friday morning to major rain and flooding.

Part of a Memphis car dealership lot flooded. Employees at the dealership are assessing whether any of the cars sustained water damage.

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In the meantime, the FOX13 Investigative team set out to show consumers signs to look for when it comes to flood damage.

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“Even as someone who works on cars, I wouldn’t want to buy a flooded car,” Joey Barton with Barton’s Car Care said. “When I get a vehicle, I want it to work right,” he said.

Barton said while it’s a good idea to look for mildew and mold inside a car, that aspect of flood damage can usually be cleaned up. He advised people to look under the hood for signs.

“Of course, you look at the airbox. If you have a wet air filter, or there are leaves at the bottom of the airbox, you know there was water in the engine at one point in time. That’s a red flag. If you see that, you don’t want to buy the car,” Barton said.

Other tips include checking the bottom of the vehicle for rust and inspecting underneath floor board mats for dirt or damp floors.

The Mid-South BBB advises that any car that has sustained anything beyond minor flooding damage is “a risky venture.”

Officials also said even low water levels can cause major damage to the electrical system. Barton agreed and said those issues are not only difficult to diagnose, but they can be pricey and expensive to repair.

While people at home can do many of these things on their own, Barton said a $25 car inspection may be the best idea for peace of mind.

“It can save you thousands, and make sure you’re not buying a lemon,” he said.