Is it safe to drive a car damaged in Sandy?

Tara Baukus MelloDear Driving for Dollars,
My garage had a bit of flooding during Superstorm Sandy, and both of my family's cars took on some water. The interior carpets got wet, but I don't think the water got much higher than that. We've started driving them because they seem to be fine, but I am wondering if they are safe to drive?
-- Soggy In Jersey

Dear Soggy In Jersey,
I'm so sorry to hear that your family was affected by the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. Hopefully you have called your auto insurance company to report the damage, even though you think it was relatively minor.

Even though your cars seem to be running fine, you should have them thoroughly inspected by a mechanic. He or she should pay attention to the brakes, other mechanical parts that may have been submerged, and any electronics or wiring that may have gotten wet. This will identify any immediate safety issues.

While you may think your cars stayed mostly dry, many cars have electronics under the seats and in the lower part of a car. Sometimes problems don't surface for months, so having your car thoroughly inspected now will help you know what to watch out for and will protect you later if you have major problems.

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