Cars Totaled by Hurricane Harvey Could Soon be Headed for Sale in California

Some of the 500,000 cars totaled by Hurricane Harvey could be cleaned up and headed to California for sale.

NBC Bay Area's Kris Sanchez shows you how to make sure the used car you have your eye on passes the sniff test.

There are things you can do, like sniff around for the smell for mold or mildew, and look and feel for wet or discolored carpet and upholstery.

Paul Singh, a service consultant in Santa Clara, ran through some other telltale signs like rust in the door jams, brittle electrical wiring, and corrosion under the carpeting in the trunk.

Singh says that while on the surface, the car may look fine, water can compromise the safety and electrical systems and leave you stalled on the freeway.

He says saving some money isn’t worth your safety.

“You gotta think about it like this, that old saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and there’s always a catch — your safety is not worth a couple thousand dollars,” Singh said.

According to Carfax — which keeps a vehicle history database — California has as many as 50,000 flooded cars already on the road, and there are more than 325,000 nationwide.

• In addition to sniffing for mold, take a test drive and see if the lights and other electrical components work:

• Check Carfax to find where the car came from and when

• Or for about $100, you can get a professional inspection, the service consultant says it takes about an hour.

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