MADISON (WKOW) -- Experts are warning future car buyers to be on the lookout for hurricane-damaged used cars next year.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT)'s motor vehicle division says tens of thousands of cars were damaged on the East Coast by flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Some of those vehicles could make their way to used car lots in Wisconsin.
Water damage can make a vehicle's electrical system and airbags more susceptible to failure.
In the past, flood-damaged cars associated with big storms have been sold in Wisconsin, so experts say consumers should check a vehicle's history before purchase.
The federal government has online resources to help consumers avoid trouble. State law also requires dealers to clearly label flood-damaged vehicles up for sale and private parties selling a car also must disclose branding on a vehicle.
But experts say people should be on the lookout for the telltale signs of flood damage: musty smell, water-spotted upholstery, mud in the taillights, silt around the air filter, discolored hood insulation, brittle wiring and rust in unexpected places.