Thousands of vehicles in New Jersey were damaged by floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy. State officials are urging residents to take precautions so they don't unknowingly end up buying any of those cars.

 

New Jersey has created an online database to help people determine whether a vehicle sustained flood damage, said state Consumer Affairs Commissioner Eric Kanefsky.

"Already the database has 13,000 vehicles in it, the vast majority of which are there as a result of Sandy," Kanefsky said Thursday. "It's easy to search. You can use the VIN number or select the manufacturer and find the car that you're considering buying."

Vehicle titles are required to clearly indicate whether a car was damaged by floodwaters or is designated for salvage.

Before you buy it, officials advise taking a used car to a trained mechanic who can determine whether it may have water damage that can cause future problems.

Because, even though there's the risk of corrosion and other problems from the saltwater, Sal Risalvato with the New Jersey Automotive Association says some people will want to buy those cars.

"You can look at a car that is virtually brand new and say, 'I think I can chance it and let me put some money in and do some repairs.'" he said. "There are some people that would like to have them for some of the parts that have been damaged or that the floodwaters would not have affected."