Consumers Ignore Auto Recall Notices at Their Own Risk

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — More than 12 million vehicles have been recalled so far this year, the most notable being the more than 2.6 million GM cars with ignition faults reportedly linked to at least 13 deaths. Since Monday of this week, more than 400,000 additional vehicles have been recalled, including Ford Escapes and Fusions, as well as Toyota Highlanders. It's almost to the point where you don't need a garage any more; just park your car in a dealer service bay.

Also See: GM Faces Further Scrutiny Surrounding Safety Recalls

But nearly one-third (30%) of these recall notices will be ignored by vehicle owners, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That can be a dangerous oversight, especially if you are buying a used vehicle.

Carfax research says that 3.5 million cars were sold online last year with unfixed recall issues. And nearly one-third of those vehicles were sold in just five states: Texas, California, Missouri, Florida and Ohio.

"Open recalls are still a major public safety issue," says Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. "In fact, our research indicates that more than one in ten used cars for sale online has an open recall. It's another reminder that consumers, especially those shopping online, need to know as much as possible about a used car before they buy. This includes if an open recall or other potentially dangerous issue exists. It helps make our roads safer for everyone."

Currently, the NHTSA offers a search tool for open recalls by year, make and model. While some manufacturers offer similar services, by August, all car makers will have to provide an online database, searchable by vehicle identification numbers (VINs). With such a VIN search, consumers will be able to identify uncompleted safety recalls that affect a particular vehicle. This new search feature will also be available on the government's official automotive safety website www.safercar.gov.

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