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Consumers should watch out for used cars damaged in Hurricane Sandy

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sandy's ripple effect has reached Chicago.

Used cars that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy might be flooding the market.

There a number of things consumers need to look out for, according to experts.

"Smell is number one. When these cars get water-logged, it's very difficult to hide that smell," the owner of Fulton DesPlaines Garage Matt Tefka said. "If you get in a car and you smell something, good chance your nose is telling you something."

Along with smell, car dealers and mechanics say you should check for water damage and sand underneath carpets and spare tires. You may also see damage along the vehicle's frame. If possible, have a mechanic check it out before you buy it.

And that's why Mike McGrath Jr., who owns four dealerships and is an officer for the Chicago Auto Trade Association, wants to raise awareness for buyers and dealers, especially about water damage.

"It can short out a lot of the electrical components in the cars. These cars are mostly driven by electronics. Steering, to the brakes, the accelerator, they are all electronic today," McGrath said.

When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, damaged cars hit the market in Illinois and that's why Secretary of State Jesse White said his office will monitor car title applications but he wants consumers to be aware.

"If the deal sounds too good to be true, nine times out of ten it is," White said. "Check the history of the automobile so you don't get a lemon."

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