NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. (8/20/13)--Warning to bargain hunters on used-car lots: More than 212,000 flood-damaged cars, many of them from Superstorm Sandy, are making their way across the country and could end up in a dealership near you, according to new data from Carfax (Bankrate.com Aug. 7).
Referred to as "sandy cars," these water-logged vehicles that sat in corrosive saltwater appear safe on the outside but are rotting on the inside and dangerous to drive. Common problems include damage to critical components like computer and electrical systems, which could lead to antilock braking and airbag system failures.
Scam artists grab cars that have been paid out as total losses on insurance claims and try to resell them. The hucksters know they're more likely to bilk unsuspecting buyers if they move damaged cars far from areas hard-hit by hurricanes or floods. If you're not checking for signs of flooding, you could wind up paying thousands in costly repair bills--or worse if you're in an accident.
Carfax offers these tips to avoid flood-damaged vehicles:
Finally, deal with reputable dealers, and always have used vehicles checked by a trusted mechanic before handing over your money.
For more information, watch "Find the Best Low-Cost, High-Value Car" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.