Thousands Of Vehicles With Water Damage From Sandy

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Morganville. January 31, 2013

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Officials discuss concerns about water damaged cars at Morganville news conference (photo by Phil Gregory)

Thousands of vehicles in New Jersey were damaged by floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy. State officials are urging residents to take precautions so they don’t unknowingly end up buying any of those cars.

New Jersey Consumer Affairs Commissioner Eric Kanefsky says the state has created an online database to help people determine whether a vehicle suffered flood damage.

 “Already the database has 13,000 vehicles in it, the vast majority of which are there as a result of Sandy. It’s easy to search. You can use the vin number or by selecting the manufacturer and find the car that you’re considering buying.”

That database can be found at

At a lot in Morganville where some of the damaged cars were stored until they are sent to auction or scrapped, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Ray Martinez said there’s been a 6000 percent spike in flood-damaged and salvage vehicle titles since Sandy.

“It’s perfectly legal to sell a flood damaged or salvage vehicle but only one that has properly been titled as such. So check it for any alteration or attempted change or masking.”

Even though there’s the risk of corrosion and other problems from the salt water, Sal Risalvato with the New Jersey Gasoline C-Store and Automotive Association says some people will want to buy those cars.

 “You can look at a car that is virtually brand new and say geez I think I can chance it and let me put some money in and do some repairs. There are some people that would like to have them for some of the parts that have been damaged or that the floodwaters would not have affected.”

Risalvato says trained mechanics can detect whether a vehicle suffered flood damage.

 “They do look for mold. They do look for wires that may appear to have been wet and corrosion. These are all things that set in over time after a vehicle has sat in water.”


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