Flooded Sandy cars now on sale in NC - WNCN: News, Weather

Flooded Sandy cars now on sale in NC

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Interior of a flooded 2008 Honda Accord Interior of a flooded 2008 Honda Accord
2002 Cadillac flooded in Hurricane Sandy 2002 Cadillac flooded in Hurricane Sandy

More than 230,000 vehicles were flooded as a result of Superstorm Sandy, but instead of heading for the junk yard, many of those cars are getting cleaned up and getting put up for sale, including right here in North Carolina.

Insurance companies write off these cars and sell them at auctions online, and flood cars from New York and New Jersey are on sale in and around Raleigh.

A 2002 Cadillac Escalade is a perfect example. According to Kelley Blue Book, it can sell for more than $10,000 in excellent condition, but one in Clayton can be yours for less than half that. It has a "buy now" price of just $5,000. Pulling up the Carfax vehicle history report, you can see why. The report shows that on Oct. 29, it was flooded in New York.

It's a similar story for a 2008 Honda Accord on sale in the area.  It can be yours for just $8,500 and judging by the interior pictures, you'd never know anything was wrong. But it was flooded in Hurricane Sandy. Now both those cars are sitting on a lot in North Carolina waiting for buyers.

The manager of one such insurance lot in Clayton declined to speak with us on camera, but said their lot is following the rules: telling customers where their cars come from, and what's wrong with them, including if they're flooded. He says what happens after that is out of their hands.

"You see people who try and make money off of this situation," North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

Cooper says used car buyers need to know their rights.

"The first thing you should do when buying a used car is ask the seller directly, 'Is this car flooded?'  By law, they're supposed to tell you," Cooper said.  "It's a violation of the law if they do not tell the truth.  Get it in writing."

Pulling up that vehicle history report can be a valuable tool.  A flooded vehicle should be labeled as such, but you also want to make sure you inspect the car thoroughly.

"The turn signals, the heater - check that several times," Cooper said, "and then let an independent mechanic examine it and give you an opinion on the car."

While a flooded car may clean up nicely, saltwater can be corrosive, causing long-term problems to the engine, transmission and electronics.

"And it may be much later before any of it shows up," Cooper said.

The North Carolina Justice Department has more tips on steps you should take when buying a used car and what damage information must be disclosed.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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