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Car dealer weighs in on avoiding buying flood cars in Tucson

Posted at 10:12 PM, Sep 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 01:17:25-04

Hundreds of thousands of cars were flooded in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. And sometime soon, those cars could be hitting streets across the country -- and here in Southern Arizona.

One place you won't find them? Michael Begurski's used car lot at Millennium Motors on Speedway. Every time he sells a car, his reputation is on the line.

"I've been here since 1998," he said.

And that's why he says he's very particular about which cars he allows on his lot. Cars from hurricane zones? Not allowed, according to the used car dealer.

"We will not purchase cars from Texas, Florida, because of the floods and the problems," Begurski said. "I'm sure big dealers will be very aware of it, no independent small dealers like us would get stuck with a vehicle like this."

However, that doesn't mean these cars won't end up in Tucson. Begurski doesn't think people will find them on a commercial or small-dealer lot, but does warn anyone in the market to buy a car to be vigilant and extra careful when buying from a private seller.

"It's unethical. Morally unethical," he said.

His big piece of advice -- get the car inspected by a mechanic before handing over the money.

Ian Firth is a sales representative at BrakeMAX auto repair on Speedway and Pantano. He agrees, and urges anyone who buys a used car to be extra vigilant and make sure to get it checked out.

"Inspection is key," he said. "That way you have an idea of what you're getting into before you purchase the car."

He explained there are some tell-tale signs to look for, in order to figure out if a car was in a flood or not, many of them are easily smelled or seen.

"If you get that mildew smell, you can definitely tell that something is going on, something has been wet," Firth said. "Rust is a main thing, especially underneath the vehicle. They can steam clean it, but if it's been soaked, you're going to definitely know that something like salt water's gotten on it."

Firth also advises to get a CarFax report on the car to get more information on it's history.

For more detailed information on how to avoid purchasing flood-damaged cars, click here.