Damaged cars from Super Storm Sandy washing up in South Carolina

Published: Aug. 8, 2013 at 3:53 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2013 at 12:10 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Almost a year ago, Super Storm Sandy tore through the Northeast killing hundreds of people and totaling an estimated 200,000 vehicles.

Those water logged cars are washing up all over the country even right here in South Carolina.

According to a new study by Carfax, thousands of vehicles that sat under corrosive salt water for days after Super Storm Sandy are being cleaned up and resold to unsuspecting drivers.

The water-ravaged vehicles are popping up as far south as Florida and experts say they can show up just about anywhere.

"In South Carolina, there's over 3,300 previously flooded cars being driven right now," says Carfax Public Relations Manager Christopher Basso.

Basso says con-artists are sprucing up the external parts of the vehicles while their internal parts are rotting away, causing drivers to put themselves and their families in harm's way.

"When you're mixing water with electricity, metal parts and safety systems that we rely on ... at any time the water can cause those systems to fail and you especially don't want that to happen if you're driving this car on the highway."

To protect yourself, Basso recommends that you buy from a reputable dealer, have the vehicle checked by a certified mechanic and research the vehicle's history.

"The best place to start is with a Carfax vehicle history report. We get information on branded titles from all 50 state departments of motor vehicles. You can also go to flood.carfax.com and search for flood damage for free using your 17 digit VIN. Also take the car for a test drive and have a mechanic inspect the car, to look for signs of hidden damage that may have not been reported or can't be picked up by the untrained eye," says Basso.

Basso says no one should be buying a flood vehicle, they are very unpredictable.

If you believe you were sold one of these damaged vehicles, Basso says to stop driving it immediately and contact the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs or Attorney General.