WASHINGTON – It’s been nine months since Superstorm Sandy raised havoc along the East Coast, and now a new threat has been born — cars damaged by the storm are showing up for sale without proper warning.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau says an estimated 250,000 cars were damaged by the storm. In many cases, they may have been damaged in dealership parking lots, have low mileage and look good.
There some things you can do to protect yourself from getting ripped off by buying one of these cars.
John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, says you can check under the rug for water stains or signs of mud and dirt.
“Look at the headlights and the tail lights to see any sign that water has been in those,” Townsend says.
You can also check for corrosion on the doors, he adds.
CARFAX, based in Centerville, Va., estimates that up to 212,000 of these flood-damaged cars have already been re-titled and are ready for sale.
“They are moving these cars from state to state to have them titled, and then they eventually hide the car in plain sight,” Townsend says.
There isn’t much you can do if you get stuck with a flood car, so if the deal looks really good, Townsend suggests you get a mechanic you trust to do a complete checkup on the car.