The damage from a major natural disaster can be harrowing – loss to life and limb combined with property damage, environmental, economic and psychological impact make picking up the pieces difficult. But long after the crisis ebbs, the damage lingers, becoming ever more pernicious and difficult to discern. Mold inside walls, unseen weakened structures... they all get covered up with fresh coats of paint. So, too, it is with the automobiles affected.

We first told you about these cars yesterday, but now professional photographer Doug Kuntz has agreed to share his incredible aerial images with Autoblog so we can pass them on to you, the reader. Going one better, Kuntz has given us more than twice as many images than what you saw on the Weather.com link yesterday.

The runways full of cars seen above are the four-wheeled remnants of Hurricane Sandy – but they aren't all headed to the scrap heap. These vehicles are but part of the over $63 billion in damage brought by the late October storm, but insurers are hoping to recover some of their own damages by auctioning some of them off, parting others out, and scrapping the rest. The runways of Calverton Executive Airport on Long Island shown above are now home to 15,000 such vehicles – a sliver of an estimated 230,000 cars and trucks damaged or written-off by Sandy.

Some of the cars shown in these images will join thousands of others that will filter their way back into the used car market in some form or another. New York law dictates that complete vehicles must have their titles stamped as "flood" to alert buyers, but it's not uncommon for that to not happen, whether born of intent to deceive or simple neglect.

Snapper Kuntz urged Autoblog to warn you, the reader, of the danger of purchasing flood-damaged cars like these, including damaged electrical and safety systems. In Sandy's case, he didn't just see these vehicles from the air:

"I saw some of these cars parked on the streets of Rockaway with the bags deployed. I talked with tow truck drivers and mechanics who moved these cars, and have worked on Katrina wrecked cars. The tow truck drivers confirmed the airbag deployments, and the mechanics agreed about the problems taking time to show, and be very expensive to fix, and in some cases, not worth the cost."

Kuntz, who referred to such vehicles as "ticking time bombs," believes strongly that all the affected vehicles should be scrapped, and he agreed to share these images with us as long as we relayed his valuable warning. We join him in urging caution when wading into the used car market at all times, but particularly following major disasters like Sandy. It can take weeks, months or even years for flood-damaged cars to reveal themselves, so get your prospective buys properly inspected. And if there's any doubt in your mind, well, just check out the gallery above for 15,000 good reasons why walking away is usually the smart move.



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  • 545 Comments
      Ekow Mensah
      • 1 Year Ago
      All I see are 15,000 high potential future Lemons Race Cars....
      Can Of Minus
      • 1 Year Ago
      These cars should be sent straight to high schools, vocational schools, military mechanic programs, etc.
        Doug Utz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Can Of Minus
        That would be an excellent use of these, because there is absolutely no good that can come out of a flood titled car. May take a few years for issues to show up, but they will show up. Anyone who knowingly buys one because he/she got a "good deal" deserves what awaits them.
      Mark
      • 1 Year Ago
      Where's big brother? Aren't they to be looking out for us?...lol Cash for clunkers they destroy! These real clunkers they won't do a thing about.
        debsully69
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mark
        Yeah,thanks to cash for clunkers,used car prices doubled.What a joke.
      passscribe
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm a retired auto technician who has seen, first hand, cars purchased by people who didn't know they were buying "flood cars" with countless problems that can cost more to fix than the car is worth. These cars can NEVER be made right unless someone was to completely rewire the vehicle and replace every electrical component. Even then, the possibilities of rust and corrosion on other parts remain unless the car was taken apart and restored, piece by piece. We all know none of those things will ever happen so the law should prevent these cars from ever being resold to consumers. If you're planning on buying ANY used car, have it checked thoroughly by a competent tech who can look for signs the car has been under water.
      Ed
      • 1 Year Ago
      Selling a flood car should is a criminal act. They should all be jailed.
      harolddundee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Many of these cars will make it onto car lots all over America. It has happened before.
      SloopJohnB
      • 1 Year Ago
      There are many parts on these cars that are salvageable. Many electronic modules are sealed and the connectors are waterproof. Engines are not necessarily completely damaged with saltwater submersion...they should be examined, flushed with fresh water, and sealed/oiled for subsequent use. For example, complete head assemblies are often salvageable, so are crankshafts and power steering pumps, etc. Break the cars down and salvage them for parts.
        ThinkAboutIt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        Exactly. I would like to build a hot rod out of a certain type of older car. I'd have no problem buying a flooded one, since all I'm probably going to really keep is the metal bodyshell. If only there were central inventories where civilians could see what cars will be available ...
      Don
      • 1 Year Ago
      Could some of these cares be donated to career and tech schools for training??? Would love to get a few for my school.
      Patti
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the scary things is that most of these cars will be headed to the mid-West or West Coast, where buyers won't have a clue that a used car would have traveled that far to be sold. Dealers get the cars registered at their state DMV, giving the car a local plate, so buyers have no reason to think that the cars might have been involved in a hurricane damage. Can you say "Carfax"?
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Patti
        [blocked]
      angcurry2
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should scrap all of them and recycle the metal. The insurance wrote them off so they need to go to the scrap yard so nobody gets hurt. It should be illegal to sell these cars to the public.
      abie0828
      • 1 Year Ago
      A few months after Katrina, I happened to be in St Paul, Mn. Several car carriers were unloading cars onto a grassy lot. Talking to one of the drivers, he advised me not to even think of buying one of those cars because they were all from down south.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should ALL be parted out at repectable Salvage yards.....Proper Flushing of the engines and transmissions will revive 98% of them.....All electrical and computer control componants need destroyed....Body parts are re-usable also......In todays economy nobody can afford a new car but we can afford to fix the vehicle we already own!!
        HotHactchHopeful
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        THANK YOU. I 100% agree with this. they can leave the cars as is, try and sell them in some shady deal, and the car won't be roadworthy in a month OR they can take a bit more effort, part them out, clean the parts up a bit, and BAM, a huge rush of low-priced replacement parts for many late-model makes. EVERYONE driving benefits from this
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