How to spot water damage in your vehicle

It is estimated that half a million cars have been destroyed by Hurricane Harvey’s torrential rains, and over one million cars have at least some water damage. Many of these vehicles will be sold at auction and repaired so that they can be resold. Buyers of previously owned vehicles need to know how to spot a water-damaged vehicle. It can be tricky, so here are some things to look out for.

A musty odor or overly strong air freshener

Mildew and musty odors are signs that a car has been exposed to lots of water. It is extremely difficult to eliminate those odors, and the strong smell of an air fresher is a good clue that some unpleasant odor is being covered up.

A good rule of thumb is to get in the vehicle, close all doors and windows, and sit there for a few minutes. Crack the door open a bit and see if you detect any strange odor. Be sure to turn on the air conditioner to see if there are any unusual odors coming through the vents.

Damp spots

Check the interior for damp spots, paying special attention under the seats since these areas can be harder to dry out. If you find a damp spot, try to lift the carpet to check the padding. Foam padding retains moisture much longer than the carpet. Inspect the carpet in the trunk as well.

Mismatched carpets

If the vehicle’s carpets are not a consistent color throughout or if there are different amounts of wear, take note. It could be that the seller has just replaced some carpet to make it more attractive. However, it could be that a flooded area and pad have been replaced to reduce odor and mildew. Also, compare doors and roof to see if they have the same wear and age.

Look for condensation or moisture

*In instrument panel gauges and electronics – Look for moisture trapped behind the plastic. With your flashlight, look under the dashboard, in the console, and behind the radio face and gauge cluster.

*Foggy headlights and taillights – Look at all lamps on the car, along with exterior mirrors. If water has accumulated in them, they will appear foggy or cloudy.

Look for dirt and debris build-up

Floodwater is always filled with all types of debris, from dirt and grass to sand and leaves. Debris such as this does not drain when the water goes down. While you are inspecting the vehicle for other signs of flooding, also check the trunk, under the dashboard, in and under the glove compartment, engine nooks, under the spare tires, under the seats, and around wiring for this type of debris.

Do a title and VIN check

Requesting a vehicle history report yourself will give you detailed documentation of the history of the car. On the title look for the stamp “salvage” or “flood.” A vehicle that is titled “salvage” means it was considered too damaged to be worth fixing.

Check for excessive rust or corrosion

It would not be unusual for a 20-year-old car to have some corrosion and rust, but not so much on a vehicle that is only five years old. Both are often seen in flood-damaged vehicles. Check both the interior and the exterior, including brackets, springs, latches, screws, and hinges.

Test drive the car

Listen to the ignition and the engine for anything that sounds strange. Check those headlights, dashboard lights, turn signals, wipers, and air conditioner to see if they are working properly. Even turn on the radio to not only listen to the sound but to look at the system itself. If it looks new for the age of the car, it could have been replaced because the vehicle was flooded.

Get an expert’s opinion

They will be able to do a more inclusive inspection and check hidden electrical parts to see if they have been replaced. An expert will be able to examine places you probably will not be able to, such a pumps and some mechanical parts. It will be worth the cost and may prevent a serious problem down the road.

If you suspect your vehicle has water damage or want an expert to take a closer look, visit Lost Pines Toyota or schedule your appointment today.

Texting and driving is now illegal in Texas

Texting while driving in Texas became illegal on September 1, ending a decade-long battle in the state legislature to pass the ban. Safety advocates supported the move as a means to reduce potentially deadly driver distractions on the road. Those opposed – including former governor Rick Perry – opposed the measure as an invasion of privacy.

Safety advocates finally prevailed. Texas became one of the last states in the nation to adopt some kind of texting while driving ban, leaving only Arizona, Missouri and Montana without such a ban.

Violation of the ban carries a fine of up to $99 for the first offense and $200 for repeat offenses. The state law covers texting with hand-held phones only, whether sending or reading. Use of phones for navigation or to listen to music is allowed.

Research in the United States reveals that four out of five college-age drivers have sent or received text messages while driving, despite the fact that the majority recognize it as a risk. It also found that male drivers are more likely to text while driving and say they consider themselves better drivers than others, so they are less likely to endanger themselves or others.

Another survey reported at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, nearly 43 percent of high school aged drivers who were surveyed reported texting while driving at least once in the past 30 days. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teens. Texting while driving has been found to raise the risk of a crash by 23 times.

Some earlier studies even suggest that texting while driving is on a par with driving while intoxicated with alcohol. There are other studies showing that it slows a driver’s reaction times more than being drunk.

Texting and driving is not just a problem among young people. The National Safety Council reports that, while there are around ten million teen drivers, there are about 180 million adult drivers. In a survey conducted by AT&T, almost half of all adults admit to texting while driving.

About 98% of adults surveyed admit they know it’s wrong, and 60% say they were not texting three years ago. It has become a national epidemic. But you don’t text and drive, so you won’t get a ticket; you don’t drive while distracted. Why is it such a big deal?

Distracted drivers can veer out of their lanes into your car traveling in the opposite direction. They can run into the back of your vehicle. Because someone you love can lose control of their vehicle, run into a tree or flip their car; they can lose their life or kill someone you care about.

It is every driver’s problems. We at Lost Pines Toyota need your help to spread the word. Please, don’t text and drive.

The 2018 Toyota Camry is here — what’s new?

The all-new 2018 Toyota Camry is here, and it is unlike anything we’ve seen before. The 8th generation model comes the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which opens up the doors for upgraded engines, technology, and a new platform. TNGA is Toyota’s latest push to pursue higher performance by strengthening each Camry’s core components.

So why is the 2018 Camry so special? What makes it stand out from previous models and competing sedans? What do these redesigns, updates and the TNGA initiative mean for you?

It means an entirely new experience from Toyota. Just as athletes build their core strength to maximize their performance, Toyota’s TNGA means the 2018 Camry incorporates this unique feature to accentuate its stability, agility, and dynamic acceleration. These core components are compact but highly efficient, like the body of that well-toned athlete, making possible a pleasing, more comfortable cabin and action-packed design.

Besides providing an exceptionally smooth ride, the car responds exactly as you had imagined and becomes an extension of yourself. The spacious interior is a unique experience for all the senses. It’s highly intuitive interfaces communicate everything from fuel consumption to luggage space. The smart technology becomes like a tried and trusted tool, which enhances the driving experience. Environmental consciousness and quality of workmanship give Camry owners a sense of pride. The 2018 Camry takes care if you so that you can relax and simply enjoy the ride.


The bold, powerful body style brings authority and new life to the Camry. Sport-side rocker panels and the integrated rear spoiler captures the attitude and performance that is sure to make an impact on the road.


Its wide-open interior is all about giving you the space and controls you need. The redesigned seats are a combination of available leather trim and contrast stitching that gives the 2018 Camry its unique stylish look.

Entune 3.0

The Toyota Entune 3.0 multimedia platform helps you stay connected and entertained with features such as on board Wi-Fi, remote connect and apps suite connect for apps like Pandora and Yelp.


The upgraded safety features include pedestrian detection, steering assistance, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. These safety measures work together to provide you with a smooth and reliable driving experience.


And the performance is enhanced with the all-new 2.5L 4-cylinder engine, improved V6 and a newly developed Direct Shift 8-Speed automatic transmission. Plus with three available drive modes, the all new Camry gives you a perfectly tailor-made drive at the push of a button.


Our aim is to simply make ever better cars with a total rethinking of how to build our vehicles. Toyota is ever striving to build each vehicle with the next decade in mind. Visit Lost Pines Toyota today to test drive your 2018 Camry.

Gumbo Friday | On the road for Hurricane Harvey relief

Most of the time when we think about an “anniversary,” it conjures up a pleasant memory. For Laurie and Carlos Liriano and family and the Lost Pines Toyota team in Bastrop, TX, that isn’t always true.

At the time the decision was being made to locate Lost Pines Toyota in Bastrop, TX, the state’s most costly wildfire erupted on Labor Day, September 4, 2011. It would not be extinguished until six weeks later, after charring more than 34,000 acres and destroying just under 1,700 homes and businesses.

It would have been easy to move on and locate in another city that did not face such a challenge to rebuild and return to normalcy. However, the Lirianos decided that the city needed some good news; so Lost Pines Toyota located on Hwy. 71 in Bastrop, TX.

You see, they understand the need for good news better than a lot of people. It was just before Labor Day, August 29, 2005 that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Louisiana and Mississippi gulf coasts flooding most of New Orleans and surrounding communities and destroying numerous cities. The family had to evacuate their home in Metairie, adjacent to New Orleans and would not return for six months. Friends and family members lost everything. Good news did not come for a long time.

On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2017, Hurricane Harvey finally made landfall on the Texas coast. It wiped out cities like Rockport and Port Aransas, on its way to completely inundate the majority of Houston before continuing its swath of destruction and flooding to the Louisiana border and beyond. The City of LaGrange in adjoining Fayette County, suffered severe home flooding.

It was the Lirianos’ unique understanding of the need for good news that led them to take their popular Gumbo Friday on the Road to LaGrange. Working with the city’s emergency services director, Laurie and her team arrived on the Friday before Labor Day with gumbo, rice, water desserts, and lots of smiles, prepared to serve 400 people.

The LPT Gumbo Team served evacuees, first responders, EMS personnel and firefighters, FEMA staff, and city and county employees. There were smiles and tears and hugs. Lost Pines Toyota always stands ready to help whenever there is a need. It’s more than selling cars; it’s what you do when you are part of the community.

Hurricane Harvey relief resources for Central and South Texas

With the Hurricane Harvey coming to an end, now is the time to start the recovery process. It is imperative you are stay informed and have access to any necessary resources available.

Use the following resources for requesting assistance and staying up to date on the latest news.

Housing & Shelters

Food Banks

Businesses & Government Organizations

Disaster Assistance

News & Tracking

How to get involved


How Lost Pines Toyota can help

Vehicle delivery

If your vehicle is totaled by Hurricane Harvey and you need a replacement, Lost Pines Toyota can have one delivered to you after purchase. Complete our contact form for more information.

Parts, services and repairs

The amount of rain and wind Harvey is bringing in may damage your vehicle. If you need replacement parts or repairs, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

Vehicle rentals

If your vehicle is totaled and you need a car to drive while waiting for insurance claims, rent a vehicle from us. Get your rental started by completing our online form.

Community assistance

If you’re a dealership, business, non-profit organization or disaster shelter and are in need of assistance such as food, water or a special request, please send us an email. We’ll work with our team to provide as much help as possible.

Stay safe during Hurricane Harvey

Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends and family in Corpus Christi, Houston and all areas in Hurricane Harvey’s path. Going through several hurricanes, I want to make sure everyone is as prepared as possible for this upcoming storm.

Here is are a few things to keep in mind while you get prepared for Hurricane Harvey:

Don’t Panic

It’s easier said than done, but not panicking during these situations is crucial. Panic can cloud your thoughts and cause you to make irrational decisions. Keep your head clear, understand that there isn’t much you can control in regards to the storm and focus on things you can control like protecting your family and your belongings. Check the weather and news occasionally, but not too often to avoid overthinking.

Stay Informed

Two words: emergency notifications. If you have a smartphone, turn on notifications for emergency alerts, your news app and your weather app. This will help you to stay up to date without losing focus or getting distracted from your daily tasks.

If you are in an evacuation zone, you’ll have a short amount of time to leave before the hurricane hits. Now is the time to pack an overnight bag with essentials such as clothes, toiletries and important personal documents. Filling up your vehicle with fuel is also a good idea to prevent any delays during the evacuation.

Protect yourself, your family & your home

Regardless if you’re in an evacuation zone or not, you, your loved ones and your homes are the most important things you need to protect. Have a plan, keep your phones charged and take care of each other.

Prepare your home now if you haven’t already. Unplug computers, electronics and appliances to prevent power surge fires, video tape and record an inventory of your home for insurance purposes, gather all important documents and ensure your emergency supply kit is stocked with water, no perishable food, flashlights, batteries, cash and a first aid kit. Bring in bikes, garbage cans, lawn chairs and anything else that can turn into a projectile if heavy winds get a hold of it.


If we stay focused, listen to authorities and follow instructions, we’ll get through this together like we have with previous natural disasters. Please stay safe, look after each other and, by all means, turn around, don’t drown.


Carlos Liriano
Dealer Principal
Lost Pines Toyota

How Lost Pines Toyota can help

Vehicle delivery

If your vehicle is totaled by Hurricane Harvey and you need a replacement, Lost Pines Toyota can have one delivered to you after purchase. Complete our contact form for more information.

Parts, services and repairs

The amount of rain and wind Harvey is bringing in may damage your vehicle. If you need replacement parts or repairs, contact our service department to schedule an appointment.

Vehicle rentals

If your vehicle is totaled and you need a car to drive while waiting for insurance claims, rent a vehicle from us. Get your rental started by completing our online form.

Community assistance

If you’re a dealership, business, non-profit organization or disaster shelter and are in need of assistance such as food, water or a special request, please send us an email. We’ll work with our team to provide as much help as possible.

Smithville August Chamber Mixer recap

We’d like to give a huge thank you to Edward Jones Investments – Reed W. Morgan for hosting the Smithville Chamber of Commerce August Mixer yesterday, Aug. 17, 2017. The turnout was tremendous with over 40 members in attendance including Olde World Bakery & Café, The Katy House, Centex Image Design and even Smithville Mayor Scott Saunders.

Our dealer principal Carlos Liriano, general manager Shaun Atkinson and digital marketing manager Anthony Guzman were present and had a few upcoming events they’d like to announce:

Burning Pines Run

The 6th annual Burning Pine Run 5K/10K and Junior Ranger Run is on Sept. 9 beginning at 7:30 a.m. Participants will run through Bastrop State Park in commemoration of the 2011 wildfires. Late registration ends Sept. 8.

Annual Chamber Luncheon

The Smithville Annual Chamber Luncheon is on Aug. 31, 2017 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The event will be held at First United Methodist Church where Robbie Rabe with Seton Smithville Region Hospital will be speaking. This event will sell out so register soon.

Smithville Community Gardens Annual Dinner

Join the Smithville Community Gardens (SCG) for their annual dinner on Saturday, Sept. 16. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 7:00 p.m. The event will take place at the Smithville Recreation Center located at 106 Royston, Smithville, TX.

Sponsorships, auction items, memberships and volunteers opportunities are is available and appreciated. Tickets to the dinner at $25 each and are sold at the Smithville Public Library, by request through The Smithville Community Gardens Facebook page and by SCG members.


Thanks again to Edward Jones Investments – Reed W. Morgan and the Smithville Chamber of Commerce for this month’s mixer. We’re looking forward to next month’s!

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown begins

National enforcement mobilization of the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign began on Aug. 16 and continues through Sept. 4, 2017. This campaign is aimed to bring awareness and help prevent drunk driving. Law enforcement is cracking down over the next few weeks to reduce the number of drunk drivers on our roads.

At Lost Pines Toyota, we are strongly against any driver operating a vehicle under the influence. Drinking and driving is an irresponsible act that places the driver, passengers and all others on the road in danger. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, drunk driving was responsible for 987 deaths on Texas roads in 2016.

This deadly crime is easily preventable, and we want to make sure all drivers in Bastrop County and the surrounding areas are safe. Here are three ways to avoid drinking and driving.

Have a sober, designated driver

Having a designated driver is the easiest way to avoid drinking and getting behind the wheel. Choose a designated driver before drinking begins. If you have trouble selecting a DD, alternate nights with friends so everyone can enjoy themselves.

Remember, the person who drinks the least is not considered sober and should not drive. Your designated driver should refrain from alcohol the entire night and be the one holding the car keys.

Use a ride sharing service, taxi or public transportation

As of May 25, 2017, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are back in Austin and surrounding areas. These services provide a simple, affordable way to catch a ride home. You can download these apps in both the App Store and Google Play Store. Make sure the app and your credit card information is set up before drinking begins.

Call a friend or family member for a ride

Your DD ended up buying a couple of drinks and you don’t have Lyft setup on your phone — what do you do? Call a friend or family member and ask for a ride home. Regardless of the time of day, your friends and family want to make sure you get home safe. It may be a small burden, but the last thing anyone wants is for you to be drunk driving.


With “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” in full force, please think twice before getting behind the wheel. Law enforcement is focused on heavily reducing drunk driving through Labor Day weekend. Keep your friends, family and our community safe — don’t drink and drive.

Carlos Liriano receives prestigious NAMAD Diversity Advocacy Award

We’d like to congratulate our Dealer Principal Carlos Liriano for winning the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) Diversity Advocacy Award last month! The award is given to members that are public servants in their communities and advocates for minorities. Carlos received his award at the 2017 NAMAD Annual Conference. This year’s conference was held at the Fontainebleau in Miami, Florida from July 11 – 14.

Born in Cuba, Carlos and his family immigrated to the United States at when he was only nine years old. They made their new home in New Orleans, Louisiana where Carlos climbed through the ranks of the automotive dealer industry. Through his hard work and success at both Toyota of Slidell and Northshore Toyota, he established Lost Pines Toyota in March 2012.

“After immigrating to America as a child, I have been blessed with opportunities and now I am able to return this blessing, not just to people within my own community, but to all minorities,” said Liriano.

Today, Carlos is the Dealer Principal at Lost Pines Toyota, co-founder of the Liriano Family Foundation and a member of several minority and community organizations such as NAMAD, the Toyota Lexus Minority Owners Dealership Association (TLMODA), the Bastrop Chamber of Commerce and the Smithville Chamber of Commerce. With the Liriano Family Foundation, Carlos is able to give back to the community more than ever before. Recently, the Foundation donated $500 for vehicle safety training for BCESD1 and the Bastrop Fire Department.

The NAMAD Diversity Advocacy Award is one of many accolades that have solidified Lost Pines Toyota and Carlos as staples to the community. Carlos has received the 2014 – 2015 Community Partner of the Year from Bastrop ISD, the 2015 Bastrop Chamber of Commerce Point of Light and Best of Bastrop Car Dealership since 2012. His public service includes not only the community and minorities but the environment as well. Carlos led Lost Pines Toyota to become Central Texas’ first Gold L.E.E.D. Certified dealership for his environmental efforts.

Congratulations, Carlos! We’re incredibly proud of you and thankful to be apart of your team.

Vote Lost Pines Toyota for 2017 Best of Bastrop County

Our team would like to personally thank you for nominating Lost Pines Toyota for best auto repair, tire dealer and car dealership and Carlos Liriano for best car salesperson in the 2017 Best of Bastrop County Reader’s Choice Poll! We’re honored for your nominations and to be apart of this community. Since we opened our doors in March 2012, our goal has been to provide the best service and vehicles possible while also doing our best to give back to Bastrop.

Over the past five years, we’ve kept true to our goal by receiving recognitions such as the 2013 Congressional Recognition – Chamber Emerging Business of the Year, 2015 Bastrop Chamber of Commerce Point of Light and winning Best of Bastrop County Car Dealership since 2012. Our community focus has brought to life events that show our love for the people of Bastrop. Gumbo Friday raises thousands for local nonprofit groups, causes and organizations, Laurie’s Play for Pink gives free mammograms and helps women discover if they have breast cancer and the Bastrop Tennis League gave students the opportunity to play a sport they wouldn’t be introduced to until high school.

We want to continue to serve the Bastrop community, and we’d like you to be apart of our mission. Please visit the Best of Bastrop County Reader’s Choice Poll and vote Lost Pines Toyota for best auto repair, tire dealer and car dealership and Carlos Liriano for best car salesperson. Your vote helps solidify Lost Pines Toyota as not only a local business leader but as a public service leader to the Bastrop community.

How to vote

To submit your votes, visit the Best of Bastrop County Reader’s Choice Poll and select the Around Town category. Lost Pines Toyota is listed under the “Auto Repair,” “Tire Dealer” and “Car Dealership” subcategories. Carlos Liriano is listed under the “Car Salesperson” subcategory. Click the vote button under our name in each respective subcategory and complete the voting form to submit your vote. You may be asked to confirm your email address before you can submit your vote.

Cast your vote button