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Avoid Hurricane Sandy cars with these tips

Tue, 29 Oct 2013 00:00:00 -0700

Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast a year ago, and like all storms its size, we're still paying for its unintended consequences today. One of the areas that always gets a boost after a storm like this is the used car market. More than 250,000 cars were damaged by the hurricane, and 50 percent of these will be resold, according to Kars4Kids, the nation's largest car-donation charity. The outfit created an infographic to help understand what to look for when buying a car after a storm.

The flood-damaged cars are supposed to receive a junk or salvage title to warn future buyers of potential problems, but certain states don't require this disclosure and sometimes cars are sent to one of those for new, untainted titles.

Kars4Kids lists five tips to help you avoid buying a waterlogged wonder.

1. Use a reputable dealer. K4K says that a dealer with a decent reputation wouldn't risk selling a flood-damaged car and risk getting “outed” as a shady dealer.

2. Stay away from once-in-a-lifetime bargains. The basis for this, and in all aspects of life, is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Do a background check on the VIN. Carfax and the National Insurance Crime Bureau both offer tools to help find Sandy-damaged cars.

4. Have the car inspected. Another no-brainer. You should do this any time you buy a car, not just after a big storm.

5. Apply your own keen eye. Look for stains on the upholstery, condensation under the glass, sand deposits under the seats, rust inside the door and water stains in the trunk or engine compartment.

Check out the rest of the info below, and if you purchase a car from that area in the next year or so, be extra careful.

Car donations made after Sandy

Map produced by the Kars4Kids Car Donation Program

Hardest areas hit by Sandy

By Jake Lingeman