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USA Flooded With Cars

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives

USA Flooded With Cars

Geoff Maxted
August 3, 2013

The image on the left shows just some of the fifteen thousand cars on this storage facility alone, flood damaged by Hurricane Sandy late last year. Some of the estimated 230,000 vehicles damaged by the catastrophic saltwater surge will be auctioned off, others will be destroyed. Anyone choosing to buy one of these formerly submerged cars at auction will hopefully know what they’re getting in to. Elsewhere though, some won’t - and that’s the problem.

Recent research has shown that over two hundred thousand flood-damaged cars are known to be on the roads right now across ten eastern states although they are now turning up in any states where consumers - and this is the point - are unknowing buying them as perfectly good used cars. That’s right - the scammers are over there too.

The sadness and misery of others has turned into big business for crooks and charlatans. The con artists are buying up the stock, towelling them down and reselling many miles away from where the flooding occurred. Thus car buyers on the hunt for a bargain are being warned to watch out for these ringers although they will no doubt be hard to spot.

Cars damaged by water, especially the salty kind, rot and corrode from the inside out. Initially, they may appear perfectly fine. These dodgy motors have become a volatile pot pourri of electricity, metal and good old H²O. Unless scrupulously dealt with the electrical and safety circuits can fail at a moment’s notice.

And goodness knows what lurks out of sight in the vents and dark soft corners. Mould and noxious bacteria love the damp. What will the kids in the back seat be breathing in on the school run in the back of Mom’s new run-around?

In the UK we can, up to a point, check the provenance of a car. The same applies in the USA where they have their own organisations. The sensible buyer checks out the history before handing over the readies. As ever, if it looks too good to be true then it probably is. Americans are learning that if they buy a bad one it is sure to put a dampener on their day.

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