Licensed Auto Dealers Routinely Sell Vehicles With Open Recalls

Open Recalls on Used Cars

11/18/2019 Truck Accidents John Whitfield

Buying a used car is often a great way to get the vehicle you want and need at an affordable price point. As purchasers, we are not only buying cars to get us from place to place, but also to safely transport our loved ones, including children. You’d be surprised to learn that while it’s illegal for auto dealers to sell new vehicles under recall until they’ve been repaired, they can still sell used cars with unaddressed open recalls. In fact, car salesmen often downplay the risks associated with buying a vehicle with an open safety recall. Even cars labeled “certified pre-owned” are often found with open, unaddressed recalls.

While not illegal under federal law, it is illegal for car dealers to sell dangerous used cars with unrepaired safety recalls under some state laws. In fact, a recent report from the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) found more than 10 percent of vehicles for sale at locations of AutoNation, one of the largest used car dealerships in the country, have open safety recalls left unfixed. Beyond that, Carfax reports three percent of used vehicles sold annually have open recalls, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (HNTSA) estimates up to 25% of safety-related defects announced by auto manufacturers go unaddressed.

Finding Out If Your Used Car Has A Safety Recall

Car manufacturer alerts of recalls to owners won’t reach those who bought that same vehicle used. So if you purchased a used car from a dealership or via private sale, here are seven steps you can take to find out if your used car has a safety recall you need to know about:

  1. Locate your vehicle’s VIN
  2. Enter your VIN online at
  3. Run a Carfax report on your vehicle
  4. Visit your vehicle manufacturer’s website for open recall information
  5. Review all listed recalls
  6. If the status of any recall information is “incomplete,” the safety issues the manufacturer flagged for that car have not been addressed
  7. Take the car in for the recall repairs

Nashville Consumers Beware of Open Recalls

By law, used car dealers can advertise open-recall cars as ‘safe’ even if they have potentially lethal problems. If you or someone you know was injured because of a vehicle defect in your car or a car that hit you, the auto products liability lawyers of Whitfield Bryson LLP can help. Contact us today for more information.