In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy, Advises how to Spot Flood-Damaged Cars

In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy, Advises how to Spot Flood-Damaged Cars

In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy, Advises how to Spot Flood-Damaged Cars

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — October 30, 2012Used car shoppers — including those not on the East Coast — should be on the lookout for flood-damaged vehicles that often hit the market after a major hurricane, says, the premier resource for automotive information. The advisory comes in the wake Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive flooding in several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic cities in the U.S.

"Once owners of damaged cars settle up with their insurance companies, vehicles are sometimes refurbished and resold, usually to an unsuspecting buyer in a state unaffected by the disaster," says Consumer Advice Editor Ron Montoya. "Electrical and mechanical problems can then surface long after the seller is gone, leaving the new owner with an unreliable car and no recourse against the seller."

The most effective way for a used car buyer to weed out a water-damaged vehicle is to obtain a vehicle history report from a company like Carfax and Experian's AutoCheck. The report will call out specific designations designed to alert future buyers about a car's integrity. A "salvage title" means that the car was declared a total loss by an insurance company, either because of a serious accident or any other problems. A "flood title" lets future buyers know that the car has damage from sitting in water deep enough to fill the engine compartment. also advises buyers to look for the following characteristics typical of a flood-damaged vehicle:

  • Musty or moldy odors inside the car
  • Discolored carpeting and upholstery
  • Fogging inside headlamps
  • Rust and flaking metal in the undercarriage
  • Dirt buildup in unusual areas

For more information on how to protect yourself against buying a flood-damaged car, please visit at

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