Every year millions of recalled cars are sold to unsuspecting buyers without needed repairs. Vehicle history website Carfax just completed a study that reports in 2012 just over 2 million unrepaired recalled vehicles were offered for sale online. But that is just online and involves only the sites Carfax catalogued. So the actual number is probably much higher. Carfax singled out Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan because its data shows the number of recalled vehicles for sale in those states has gone up 25% in the past year.
You might ask, how can Carfax tell that the vehicles have been recalled but not repaired? It can because the federal government makes recall notices for certain makes and models available. Also, manufacturers and dealers track the VIN numbers of the individual vehicles that are brought in for the needed fix. The fact that recalled vehicles are offered for sale is bad news if a person doesn’t know it. The very definition of a federal vehicle recall is that there is a safety problem with that make, model and year. So a person buying a car subject to an open recall could mean he or she is putting themselves and others at risk. Two examples from just last month: one SUV was recalled because of a problem that could cause it to roll away when parked. Another make was recalled because a faulty sensor could cause the passenger airbags to fail to deploy.
On the other hand, if a person knows the car he or she is looking at has been recalled, that can be used as a bargaining chip in price negotiations because the needed repairs can be done for free at a dealership. Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax, had this to say:
Before a car changes hands, there are lots of opportunities for everyone involved to check for open recalls. Yet this data is proof that it’s not happening enough.
Fortunately, it’s easy to check. In fact, you can try NHTSA’s own website, though some say it’s “notoriously difficult to navigate.” That is where NHTSA posts recall summaries from the past six months. The government portal for broader vehicle safety information is www.SaferCar.gov. But, an easier resource is the FREE recall check Carfax itself offers: recall.carfax.com. Another free resource about recalls and auto safety is the website of the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Some legislators in California – the state with the biggest population and the most cars – are introducing legislation that would require sellers to repair recalled vehicles before selling them. And last year, California U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein sponsored federal legislation to require rental car companies to repair recalled vehicles before putting them on the road again.
Owners of vehicles should never ignore recall notices. Unfortunately, some second owners of vehicles don’t always receive these recall notices. That’s another good reason for folks to use the resources mentioned above to check up on their vehicles.
Source: ABC News
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