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Beware of cars damaged by Hurricane Sandy when buying used

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - If you’re in the market for a used car, state officials urge you to shop more carefully in the New Year.

The Transportation Department says vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy will start showing up at used-car lots around the country, as their previous owners get their insurance settlements.

The DOT said tens-of-thousands of vehicles had water damage from Sandy – and it makes the electrical systems suspect.

Officials say that buyers should look for tell-tale signs like musty interiors, water spots on the upholstery, dirt on the tail-lights, painted or discolored hood insulations, silt around the air-filters, and rust in places you wouldn’t normally expect.

Also, the DOT says buyers can check a vehicle’s history by putting its ID number on the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System’s Web site. Insurers are required to tell the system about any vehicles that are deemed to be total losses.

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