How to check your car for unrepaired recalls

Woman buys used car with dangerous ignition issue

A Milford, Ohio woman says she bought a dangerous used car, because the used car dealer never bothered to fix an important safety recall.

Julie Rose had just bought a  gently used 2010 Chrysler Town and Country. Just days later I was "just going along and it died, no power, no power no nothing. It just stalled."

Luckily she was able to get it off the road, and towed to a dealer. While there, she looked up the stalling problem, and was stunned at what she found.

Recall repair had never been done

"I Googled this particular problem with this particular van, and I saw the recall on it."

2010 Town and Countries  had been recalled for stalling issues, due to an ignition problem. But hers had never been fixed, and there is no law requiring used car deals to check for recalls.

That's why its so important to check a used car for recalls before you buy it, not after.

All you need to do is get the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), at the bottom of the windshield, and your smartphone, and you can find some things that might need to be repaired.

You then go to www.SaferCar.gov, and enter your car's unique number. You will immediatly see what recalls your car has, and whether they have been completed.

No state or federal law

New cars cannot be sold, under federal law, if they have been recalled.

But it turns out there are no state or federal laws requiring a dealer to fix recalls before selling a used car. New York City is the only major municipality in the country requiring used car dealers to even alert buyers to recalls.

A proposed law in California failed after the nation's largest used car dealer group lobbied against it.

Consumer group petition

A dozen groups -- including Consumers Union and the Consumers Federation of America -- agree, and are now petitioning the FTC to require dealers to at least inform buyers of unrepaired recall items.

75,000 people, meantime, have signed a petition at Change.org to prohibit the sale of unfixed used cars.

We checked with the Ohio Auto Dealers Association. The group recommends that dealers fix recalls if the used car is the same make as their dealership.

But if it is another brand, they are not even allowed to do the fix, so you need to make the check yourself at www.SaferCar.gov, so you stay safe and you don't waste your money.

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