Purchasing a used car can be a gamble. Buyers run the risk of investing their money into a vehicle that may have one mechanical problem after another. Buying a used car can be especially dangerous if it has an open recall that was never repaired. Carfax reports that 3% of the used vehicles sold annually have open recalls, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that up to 25% of all safety-related defects go unaddressed. If you are in the market for a used car and want to be safe, make sure to check for open safety recalls.
Federal laws restrict car dealerships from selling new cars with open recalls for several reasons. Safety defects such as bad brakes, faulty seatbelts and airbags, and sticking accelerator pedals can cause serious accident and injury. In extreme cases, cars with open recalls have been reported to lose wheels, power steering, braking, and even catch fire. Many recalled cars have multiple defects that, left unaddressed, may cause accidents that can seriously injure or kill their drivers, passengers, and other road users.
However, no law in the United States prevents used-car dealerships from selling used vehicles with open recalls. Current regulations merely require dealers to make a general mention of open recalls in their advertising. Even so, dealers may mislead buyers about open recalls by burying the fact in small print, or advertising used cars with open recalls as having passed rigorous inspections and reconditioning. By law, used car dealers can advertise open-recall cars as “safe” even if they have potentially lethal problems.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety recently released a report that unveiled how common it is for used car dealers to sell vehicles with open recalls that were left unrepaired. The two organizations surveyed more than 2,400 used cars sold by AutoNation at 28 locations across the United States during the months of July and August. It was revealed that 285 of the vehicles sold had open recalls that were never fixed. Some of the recalls included defective General Motors ignition switches and Takata airbags. Both of those recalls caused hundreds of fatalities.
To check if the car you want to buy has an open recall, go to the NHTSA website, and enter the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in the search box that appears. You can find the VIN on the car’s registration card and on the lower left side of the car’s windshield. The search results will indicate any incomplete safety recalls associated with the VIN and all safety recalls conducted on the car model over the last 15 years. If you have already purchased a used car that turns out to have an open recall, you may have it repaired for free at an authorized dealership.
If you or someone you know was hurt in a crash caused by a safety defect, find out what legal options are available to you. It’s best to consult with an experienced Texas car accident attorney who can help you build a strong legal claim. Call Paradowski Law at (855) 524-2976 and Get What You Deserve.