Flooding from the historic storms that swept across the United States this year left both houses and cars underwater.
One of these vehicles was caught in Hurricane Ida in a South Orange New Jersey parking lot in September. Now it is filled with moldy mold.
“Undriveable, won’t start. It should just be junk for parts at this point,” said car owner Ulysses Lee.
Experts warn that after major floods, thousands of vehicles similar to this one are cleaned up and resold. That’s what Joyce Darden, 80, says happened to her used car, which records show she purchased from Enterprise Car Sales for $17,000.
Now every morning, Darden puts on goggles and a mask — not because of COVID-19 — but because she says her car is actually making her sick.
Roy Bent, an auto appraiser in Houston, looked at the vehicle and found evidence of mold and water damage.
“[Rust] is a tell-tale sign that the vehicle has been involved in a flood,”Bent.
He also said that the engine is sand-filled, which is another indicator it’s a flood vehicle.
“You should not have any sand in here. Do you see that?”Bent.
Bent claims that the car’s electrical parts, including the airbag, are also compromised.
Darden believes that severe mold exposure is what caused her headaches, earaches, and sinus infection.
“Every time she jumps in here and steps on the floor and runs the AC, she’s just breathing it, breathing it,” mold expert Hansel O’Halloran told Inside Edition.
O’Halloran says he found extreme levels of toxic mold in the carpets of Darden’s vehicle.
“This should never happen to anybody,” Darden said.
Enterprise claimed that the car had never been subject to water damage and that they stand by their sale. Enterprise also stated that they would inspect the vehicle and offer to buy it back.
Experts estimate that nearly 400,000 flood-damaged vehicles are on the road today. For tips on how to tell if you have a flood car, go to Carfax.com.