As the year changes, buyers run out to buy a new car to celebrate the New Year, and some are finding cars that have taken a swim lesson during Hurricane Sandy. Scammers are finding ways to hide signs of damage from buyers and dealers are saying that “it’s hard to tell”.
For those of you who remember Hurricane Katrina, you remember the News broadcasts of scammers trying similar tactics. Now, after Hurricane Sandy, they seem to be more successful, with new ways to cover up the damage a car receives while being used like a submarine.
Finding Hurricane Sandy Damage
Even with the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy being covered up by scammers it will eventually surface. With the amount of electronic systems in cars nowadays, and with how “well” electronics and water (especially salt water) mix, it won’t be long before you start seeing these signs – although it may be too late to do anything about it.
When buying a car you should buy from a reputable dealer instead of a private sale. If something is wrong with the car and you can’t find the person it’ll be like chasing a ghost. Sometimes there isn’t an option for buying from a dealer, like if you want a classic car or have credit issues. If this is the case there are still things you can do to protect yourself.
Protect Yourself from Scammers
Make sure to get a Carfax report, which you should do even when buying a used car from a dealership. Be especially wary when purchasing a car coming from the Northeast. Check the car for fogging inside of the headlights, and also for brand new carpets in an older car. Also, be sure to have a pre-purchase inspection on the vehicle done by a trusted auto repair shop before buying a vehicle.
New York law states that the titles of flood damaged vehicles have to be stamped with “Flood” to warn potential buyers of possible problems. This still leaves many other states that may not have such strict guidelines for vehicles damaged in floods, so you still need to check any used vehicle for signs of flood damage.
Damage caused to vehicles by floods include, but are not limited to, heating and air-conditioning, computer-controlled fuel systems, and braking systems.