Buyer Beware: Used Cars from Storm Sandy

Susan Frissell

Buyer beware when hunting up a used vehicle. Flooded vehicles have hit the market after Storm Sandy on the east coast, making buying a used car a delicate purchase. These vehicles have the risk of finding their way to unscrupulous dealerships, selling to uninformed consumers. Posing financial-and health-risks, cars that have been submerged in saltwater and contaminated by bacteria and various toxins, have been appearing all over the country.

When looking at a used vehicle, be sure to check for premature rust, a musty or “perfumed” odor. Be sure to look at the car’s history to determine if the car was registered in a flood-damaged area. Go to www.vehiclehistory.gov before you make a purchase. Insurers, junkyards and auctions are required to report total-loss vehicles to this database within 30 days. Should you decide to purchase a flooded vehicle, know that you may experience corrosion or malfunctions in the electrical systems.

Used car prices could increase because of super storm Sandy. Estimates of up to 250,000 vehicles were flooded on the East Coast resulting in higher prices. These price increases will be felt the most on the East Coast, of course, but due to increasingly digital and national market, could be widely felt.

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