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Hurricane Sandy-damaged cars may be flooding into auto auctions

Superstorm Sandy

Richard Drew/AP

Cars are submerged at the entrance to a parking garage in New York's Financial District in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. New York City awakened Tuesday to a flooded subway system, shuttered financial markets and hundreds of thousands of people without power a day after a wall of seawater and high winds slammed into the city, destroying buildings and flooding tunnels.

Beware of super sales on Superstorm Sandy-damaged vehicles, say two national consumer groups. 

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) and National Consumers League (NCL) issued a warning to potential car buyers on Tuesday about the "tens of thousands" of flood-compromised cars changing hands and potentially entering the auto auction market.

"Flood cars are ticking automotive timebombs," said Rosemary Shahan, President of CARS. "Flood cars are inherently unsafe, particularly since all the electronic systems that control the engine, brakes, air bags, and other vital safety systems are hopelessly contaminated and will inevitably fail."

Even car buyers far from Sandy's wrath need to be on alert, say the groups.

“Flood damaged vehicles can be shipped across the country in a matter of days,” said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of NCL. “Consumers throughout the US need to take specific steps to protect themselves from inadvertently buying these vehicles.”