North Carolina officials warn of Hurricane Matthew flooded cars

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State officials say a car that's been flooded can have hidden problems.

Hurricane Matthew flooded thousands of cars across North Carolina and state officials warn that unscrupulous people might try to sell you one.

When a car is damaged, it can be very expensive to fix correctly. Once a car is dried out, it can appear fine, but the wiring is likely full of gremlins that may not show up right away.

"It's easy to disguise a flood vehicle. And that's why when you clean it up, you prep it up, you put air scents in it, it kind of disguises it but what it really does is fraud to the consumer. They're sold over the internet as vehicles relatively cheap. And so the consumer may not know what they are purchasing. That's what we're trying do is make sure they're identified and have the opportunity to eliminate the fraud and consumer abuse," explained NC DMV commissioner Kelly Thomas.

Flood-damaged cars can be sold legally, but the title must be clearly marked as a flood salvage.

And even if you know what you're buying, experts say don't be surprised if problems arise long after you've purchased a car.

DMV officials also said Monday they will provide free replacement paperwork and licenses ruined by flooding in the 37 disaster counties and waive late fees through December 1.

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