With the events of hurricane Sandy behind us, there is much clean up and rebuilding in the foreseeable future.
Keeping that in mind, many of the vehicles damaged in the hurricane will find there way to auctions, dealer trade in's and private sales.
Some of these vehicles will only need minor bodywork, but many will be flood damaged and if you are shopping for a used car within the next six months you should take extra car when checking out a car.
Salt water speeds up the rusting process and corrodes electrical wiring from the inside out. Cars that seem like a good deal may cost more to repair in the near future than they are worth.
A few easy places to check are under the driver or passenger seats. The seat frames and springs are usually unpainted steel and will not usually rust unless exposed to flood waters.
Take off a door sill trim and look for sand, mold or a water line. Most detail shops will not take off trim panels to clean. You might also want to remove a door panel to inspect for a water line. Door panel material is usually cardboard on the inside and water lines can not be removed.
Detail shops do an excellent job of cleaning up flood damaged cars and hiding the fact that these cars have hidden damage that could cost you thousands in unnecessary repairs.
A Carfax can be a useful tool, but if the owner never reports the damage to their insurance the car will have a clean car fax. In a typical month I see many cars with a clean car fax and 80% of those cars have recent body work and been painted.