CARSTAR: Don’t underestimate damage in wake of Hurricane Sandy

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Nov. 1, 2012—CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts is reminding both repairers and consumers to not underestimate the damage caused by a recent slate of storms that hit hard this week on the East Coast.

Hurricane Sandy and it 900-mile swath brought severe weather to a number of eastern states, resulting in high water, overflowing rivers and billions of dollars in damage.

In storms such as these, CARSTAR said in a press release_notes, cars and trucks can receive some of the worst damage. Car owners—and repairers—need to be aware of the potential damage and make sure to check all facets of the vehicle.

“Flood waters don’t just get the vehicle wet, they totally soak the electronics, the mechanics of the car and the interior, leaving behind dirt deposits, rust, mildew and more,” Gary Boesel, vice chair for the CARSTAR Advisory Board and owner of Alpine CARSTAR Auto Body and Jordan Road CARSTAR Collision, said in the press release. “Repairing a vehicle that has been through a flood is a challenge that should be left to a true auto body expert.  You really need to know what to look for if you are repairing a flood-damaged car or considering buying one.”

Shops can help consumers by recommending they complete a thorough check of their vehicles, and deciding whether or not they need to bring it into the shop.

Boesel recommends presenting this checklist to customers:

• Examine upholstery and carpeting closely; if it doesn't match the interior or fits loosely, it may have been replaced. Discolored, faded or stained materials could indicate water damage.
• Smell for musty odors – this could mean mildew.
• Check the trunk, glove compartment, the dashboard and below the seats for signs of water damage such as silt, mud or rust.
• Turn the ignition key and make sure that accessory and warning lights and gauges come on and work properly. Make sure the airbag and ABS lights come on.
• Test lights (interior and exterior), windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work.
• Flex some of the wires beneath the dashboard. Wet wires will become brittle upon drying and may crack
• Look for rust in the wheel wells, under the hood and under the rear of the car.
• Go to a trusted mechanic for an inspection. Always get vehicles checked BEFORE handing over any money.

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