Southern California breaking news and trends

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.”


Superstorm Sandy relief efforts: 5 ways you can help in Los Angeles

Superstorm Sandy

Julio Cortez/AP

A rollercoaster that once sat on the Funtown Pier in Seaside Heights, N.J., rests in the ocean on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. The pier was washed away by superstorm Sandy which made landfall Monday evening.

Disaster relief is underway for victims of the Superstorm formerly known as Hurricane Sandy. Communities destroyed by the landmark landfall will get some much needed assistance from the West Coast this weekend via a number of traditional and untraditional fundraising efforts. 

The Walt Disney Co. announced Thursday a commitment of $2 million toward disaster relief and rebuilding efforts. For people with shallower pockets who still want to help, below is a list of ways to donate buckets of your own duckets to the all-too-literal Sandy bail out.

(Leave us a message in the comments about other local benefits and fundraisers.)

1. NBC Universal Telethon - "Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together"

The one-hour telethon/concert aired Friday on NBC Universal stations — NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, Style, Syfy, USA — and streamed online (you can view a replay here). Money collected will be donated to the American Red Cross.