The owner of Kettering Auto Care talks to NewsCenter 7's Rachel Murray about how to tell if a car has been in a flood.

Car buyers should be aware of flood damaged vehicles

The FTC estimates that nearly half of automobiles in flood damaged areas —like the recent devastation in Louisiana— are refurbished for resale out of state.

“It’s a huge industry,” said Jason Swinford, owner of Kettering Auto Care.

There are ways to make sure the vehicle you want to buy isn’t a water-logged money pit.

First, Swinford recommends doing a smell test.

“Get in the car, roll up the windows, turn on the air and check for any musty, moldy, or mildew scents,” said Swinford.

Check for dampness, silt, and mold in the carpet padding, the instrument panel, and the spare tire compartment.

Another major clue?

“Pull the seat belt out and check for stains on them. They’ll replace the carpet but they will not replace the seat belts,” Swinford said, “They are more expensive.”

Finally and always: do a title check with the BMV, and get a CarFax report.

If you suspect a dealer is trying to sell you a flood damaged car report it to police and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Donation scams

You open your heart and want to open your wallet when you see people suffering in the Louisiana flooding— but unfortunately, there are scammers who want to take advantage of that good will.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office says before you give:

  • check out the charity organization at the Ohio Attorney General’s website, the BBB, and IRS Select Check.
  • beware of “look-alike” websites that may be trying to dupe you into entering your financial details.
  • don’t trust charity recommendations you may see on social media.
  • find out how your donation will be used.

Self-driving taxi

The future of travel has arrived— sort of.

Late last week, nuTonomy launched the first self-driving taxi service in Singapore.

But if you are imagining an empty vehicle picking up and dropping off passengers— nope— the ride is actually more crowded.

Each cab has two human employees inside, one to grab the wheel in case something goes awry and another in the backseat to monitor the computer.

Recall Roundup

Here are a few of the notable recalls announced recently.

A replacement for a recalled lamp is now also being recalled. Happy Meal activity trackers are under recall for causing rashes. Jewelry that looks like candy is being recalled for high levels of lead, and a microwave is being recalled that may catch on fire.

Plus: more recalls here.

Rachel Murray is a WHIO-TV consumer reporter. You can watch her reports on News Center 7, follow her on Twitter @RMurrayWHIO, and like her fan page on Facebook.

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