Water-damaged vehicles from Sandy could be on the market, Georgia officials warn

Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 1:48 PM
Last updated 10:10 PM
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Georgia officials are warning anyone looking to buy a used vehicle to be careful about flood-damaged vehicles circling the market after Superstorm Sandy.

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Cars were submerged at the entrance to a parking garage in New York's Financial District in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 30. Georgia officials are warning prospective buyers to be on the alert for flood-damaged cars.  FILEASSOCIATED PRESS
FILEASSOCIATED PRESS
Cars were submerged at the entrance to a parking garage in New York's Financial District in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 30. Georgia officials are warning prospective buyers to be on the alert for flood-damaged cars.

Damage can be hidden with new upholstery and minor body work, but the vehicles could have irreparable electrical damage, according to the Office of the Attorney General and the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection.

Consumers can be duped into buying the damaged cars at auctions and used car lots or through online classified ads.

C&C Automotive Team Leader Aaron Clements said that water damage can have long-term repercussions but that there are precautions buyers can take before making a purchase.

Water damage can affect electrical components such as heating and ventilation, anti-lock brake systems and wheel bearings.

“When they get wet, they may work for a period of time, but they also can go out and have a domino effect as they start going bad,” Clements said.

Before making a purchase, Clements said, buyers can use Carfax to check a vehicle’s history. The Office of Consumer Protection also recommends visiting the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System’s Web site, vehiclehistory.gov.

If a car is listed as totaled in another state, it will often show up in the database, Clements said.

He also said a consumer should have an unbiased mechanic perform a full checklist inspection to look in places that are almost impossible to clean, such as wheel wells and places inside the trunk, to check for sand residue.

As a general rule, Clements said, the car is totaled if floodwater reached above the dashboard, but it can be salvaged if the moisture did not reach that point.

LEARN MORE

BEFORE YOU BUY: Use Carfax.com to check a vehicle’s history, or visit the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System’s Web site, vehiclehistory.gov, for more information.

BOUGHT A FLOOD-DAMAGED VEHICLE? Contact the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection at (404) 651-8600 or (800) 869-1123.

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OpenCurtain
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OpenCurtain 11/24/12 - 10:11 am
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Quick check

Besides using the 2 big Internet sites and paying $$.

Pull the trunk or passengers side front carpet back a little and look for water stains.

Check the bottom the seats for water stains.

Don't trust you nose, there too many water rid chemicals out there that mask the odors mildew and smoke.

Think of how much damage can be caused if the water reach just the seats, let alone the dash board

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