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San Diego Car Accident Attorney Discusses Used Vehicles Under Recall

According to research conducted by Carfax, there were 2 million cars advertised in 2012 … that were under a product recall and in need of repairs.

And those were just from the cars sold online that Carfax was able to catalog. The real number is actually much higher.

So how does Carfax even know which cars have not been repaired? Because car manufacturers and dealers track the Vehicle Identification Number of each car that is repaired.

So is selling a car that is under recall but not repaired, a good thing or a bad thing for you?


It’s bad because vehicles with potential defects large enough to warrant a recall are not repaired, and you may end up driving yourself, family and friends in that car.

On the other hand, if you are aware of the recall, you can actually use that as a bargaining chip.

Either way, it’s a good idea to check whether cars you are looking to buy, or already own, are under a vehicle recall and needs to be fixed. You can start by using the following site:

How can used-car dealers get away with selling vehicles currently under recall?

Federal laws prohibit sales of new cars with unfixed recalls. Rental car companies can’t rent unfixed cars. But used cars? There are no protections from unfixed recalled vehicles.

It’s known as the used-car loophole. Used cars with faulty Takata airbags and bad GM ignition switches can be sold on the used car lot with no repercussions from federal laws.

Safety advocates say this loophole is putting lives at risk, while used car dealers argue the ban would reduce values of cars for owners. Some estimates are as high as $1,200.00 in reduced car value if the law was changed.

Stop-drive warnings

Most recalls do not involve a defect serious enough to ground the car. However, there are some recalls that receive a “stop-drive” notice, meaning the defect is so dangerous you need to stop driving. Regulators advise dealers and rental car companies not to sell or rent the vehicle, but they have no power to enforce this.

The NHTSA and NADA would like for all recalls on cars to be fixed before the car is sold, or rented. That is unlikely to happen even with a passed law.

Un-repaired vehicles can contribute to injuries sustained in car accidents

The FTC is being sued because it allows car dealers to advertise used cars as being safe even when there are potentially fatal defects with a recall on the vehicle.

So a vehicle can kill you, but the dealer can argue that the car is safe even if the repair is not complete. So how do you protect yourself?

Go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and see if the car you are looking to buy is under a potentially dangerous recall.

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