Open Recalls and Used Cars

For the past year, we’ve been telling you about the huge number of recalled vehicles (19 million for example in the Takata airbag recall).  Now consumer groups say without guarantees that the defects are fixed there is growing concern about what happens to those vehicles if they are sold as used cars. “We estimate that about 75 percent of total car sales are to buyers of used cars,” says Jack Gillis of CFA.  “So when you consider there’s been about 100 million vehicles recalled in the past three years there’s a very good chance that used car for sale will have an open recall.”

Gillis says there are few, if any products that have a greater impact on the public health than the automobile. He says only about 70 percent of all recalls are ever fixed and that any given time, one in every six cars on the road probably has some kind of defect under recall.  But Gillis claims many in Congress are dragging their feet when it comes to current legislation.  He says a bill being considered would require rental car companies to prove that defects (prompted by recalls) have been fixed, but does not go far enough when it comes to used car sales. He also says recent surveys indicate that 80 percent of consumers think used cars should be included in any legislation.

Meanwhile, he says consumers need to keep the thought of the websites safercar.gov  in their review mirror at all times.  He says when shopping for a used car (whether private sale or through a dealership) first, ask if there are any open recalls and if so, has the car been fixed?  He says if you don’t get a satisfactory answer use the website to look up the VIN number of the car.  It should indicate if there is an open recall.  You can also call the manufacturer to get more information as well

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