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Hurricane Sandy 'flood' cars sold to unsuspecting buyers

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CENTREVILLE, Va. (WJLA) - Ten months after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, the D.C. area is feeling the impact on car lots. 

Photo: Jason Howie via Flickr

As Sandy's storm water submerged hundreds of thousands of vehicles, many of them dried out and drove south. Those "Sandy cars" are now being fixed up and re-sold, and they can range from a bad investment all the way to downright dangerous. 

“We have evidence that Sandy cars are back on the road throughout the United States," says Chris Basso of Carfax.

Sandy cars, many of which are rotting from the inside out, are being sold to unsuspecting buyers.

Carfax estimates 212,000 flood cars are on the nation’s roads today. Virginia ranks 10th overall when it comes to the percentage of flood cars, possibly because of its proximity to the hardest hit areas of New York and New Jersey. Maryland ranks 26th. An estimated 10,000 flood cars are found in the Washington area. 

Auto technician Mike Zentmayer dreads having to tell a customer they have a floor car.

“They think they got a great deal on a car when it turns out it really is not that great of a deal,” he says.

Still, Zentmayer doesn’t hesitate to tell customers because he says it’s a safety issue.

“Maybe the SRS system, the airbag system, doesn’t work properly. Brake lines rust out, the car won't stop," he says.

Many flood cars end up in scrap yards and have their exterior parts salvaged. The rest end up in junk yards. 

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