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Joseph M. Ghabour & Associates LLC

Is Buying A Used Car After Superstorm Sandy an Issue?

flooded car

In short - watch out for flooded cars!

While we've heard of all the amazing stories of the numerous heroes and volunteers after Superstorm Sandy, a small segment of the population wants to profit off of misery. After Sandy, no pun intended, the unscrupulous people will be flooding the market with flood damaged cars. These cars will have been fixed enough to run ­­– but will leave you holding the bag for costly repairs.

Always, conduct a pre-purchase inspection and title search on any and all pre-owned cars you may purchase. It doesn’t matter if the car comes from a new-car dealer selling the car as used, a used-car lot, local mechanic shop that sells cars or a private seller.

A car that was even slightly submerged in water, particular the  salt water of Sandy, will have been permanently damaged. A private, third party, car inspector should be hired – and made alert to look for water damage.

Over 16,000 brand-new cars alone were destroyed by Sandy's flooding at the Port of Newark. Such cars, if ever put back on the road, must have a "salvage" title. However, by moving a car from one state's registration to another, it is possible to illegally obtain a non-salvage title. A title search, even if such a change is not recorded, will record the history of the car. If the car was moved from state to state, particularly if only short periods of time, that is a fairly clear indication of a fraudulent title.

We all know that getting the best price is key in any autobmobile purchase. Therefore, it may seen a waste of money to hire a professional, third party, automobile inspector. You can google and find out what to look for, such as looking at the seat mounting bolts where the seat fastens to the floorboards to see if they rusty. But it isn't always that easy.

A formerly flooded car isn't a bargin, it's a pile of future car repair bills. Hire a third party auto inspector, or simply take the car to local mechanic that is reputible and has no relationship with the seller, for an inspection.


Joseph M. Ghabour
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Auto, Bus, Pedestrian, Motorcycle accident, medical malpractice and worker's compensation attorney.

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