PORTLAND -- If you get stuck with a flood car, you'll likely experience never-ending electrical problems. Seven years ago, many flood cars from hurricane Katrina ended up being sold in the Northwest.

Law enforcement experts already expect that trend to repeat itself with cars flooded by hurricane Sandy.

Here is how you can spot a flood car:

A good first step is to run the vehicles VIN with or with the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

You'll get a history on the vehicle and in most cases, it will show if the title has been branded or salvaged. However, sometimes insurance claims are never filed. Crooks buy the flooded cars cheap, fix them up and sell them fast with clean titles.

Spotting a flood car is not as easy as just smelling for mildew. You should start by looking at the seats and the carpet. Are they newer than the car?

The question would be why would you replace all those at one time?, said Grant Lord, service manager at Broadway Toyota in Portland.

Sometimes the answer lurks in the trunk. Beware of rusty tools.

If they're all rusty that means the trunk was flooded, said Lord.

Under the hood, it's rusty bolts you need to watch out for.

One of the other things you can do is pull out the tail lights. Mud will be in there because detailers work around the lights, but typically don't take them apart, said Lord.

It took 2 months for flood cars to start showing up in the Northwest following hurricane Katrina. It means the Sandy cars should show up, just in time for Christmas.

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