Buyer beware: Storm ravaged cars are on the market

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West Manchester Township, York County – Many times, there is more than meets the eye when buying a used car.  A new study shows more than 200,000 cars are on the roads that have been heavily damaged by water.

Buying a car is one of the biggest investments a person makes in their lifetime.  But that investment can go south quickly if you choose a lemon.  There are a couple of ways to avoid that and one begins right here at the computer.  Some internet research, along with a pretty simple inspection of the car, can save some heartache in the end.

When buying a new car, a thorough inspection can show a lot of things if you are looking in the right spots.  Some new research from Carfax shows there are 212,000 cars on the road today that have sustained heavy flood damage.

Mechanic Chad Fadely, from Fadely Auto Masters in York County says look in the glove compartment and under the floor mats.  If there are signs of water damage inside, that is a bad sign.  Mix water and a car’s computer components and the result could be catastrophic.


“Most of these vehicles have computer systems in them that are full of the same capability as your phone.  Once moisture gets in there, they are completely destroyed,” said Fadely.

“This won’t explode, it will basically implode.  That’s what will happen.  This motor will implode.  It will break from the inside out and that’s what will happen,” said mechanic Steve Sabonya.

A check under the hood will also do some good.  Fadely says any evidence of mud, water or gravel around the alternator could mean problems.  Also, check the plugs and fuses to make sure everything looks up to par.

Once the visual inspection is done, a little online research will go a long way.  We found two websites that offer some free help.

First, the National Insurance Crime Bureau provides free web searches.  We ran more than 30 local VIN numbers and came up with no Superstorm Sandy damaged cars.  We did find one car that had two collisions in the past three months.  A link to that site is

The second site is  This site gives you a free search of Sandy related cars.  The rest of the report will cost you some cash.  A link to that site is