Recalled cars for sale are a danger to all

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A report from Carfax says some cars are being sold that should be fixed first. Image: robertstinnett/Flickr/CC BY

According to a report released Monday by CarFax, the automotive pricing website, there were nearly 3 million cars for sale in the U.S. last year that were subject to safety recalls.

‘Threatens safety of consumers everywhere’

The Carfax study found that there were about 2.7 million vehicles offered to buyers that had not been fixed, in spite of being targeted in recall campaigns. The report concluded that the practice of ignoring recalls and passing potentially dangerous vehicle on to others “threatens the safety of consumers everywhere.”

Checking on recalls

Since it is easy to check on recalls and the repairs are free, Carfax communications director Larry Gamache said he sees little excuse for the practice.

“A simple online check for open recalls is all it takes to help make our roads safer,” noted Gamache.

Carfax offers a free service on its site — — to check for recall alerts by keying in a vehicle identification number.

More detailed information about any specific recall campaign can be found at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site,

Gamache said progress is being made in tracking down these cars, but there is still far to go.

“We’re making a lot of progress, but there are still too many open recalls out there,” he said.

[Where can I buy a car that is safe and dependable? — Right here!]

States selling the most recalled cars

Broken down by states, California, Florida and Texas had the largest number of used cars for sale that were subject to recall. Not surprisingly, they are also three of the four largest states by population. Each had more than 100,000 unfixed cars for sale in 2011.

A plumber’s story

The report also refers readers to a YouTube video by a Delaware plumber named Bob Knotts. He bought a used car, not realizing it had been targeted in a recall effort.

In the video — a link to which is posted below — Knotts said:

“My van caught fire from an electrical recall under the driver’s seat that was never fixed. Had it spread to the back where I keep a propane torch and highly-flammable glue, it would have been a total fireball. Had I gotten the Carfax Report, I wouldn’t have had this $8,000 loss.”

Buyer and seller need to check

The safety risk escalates each time an affected vehicle changes hands, said Gamache. It is up to owners, buyers and sellers to be alert:

“Many of these cars change hands without the buyer ever knowing a recall exists, increasing the safety risks both to passengers in the car and others on the road. We all need to do our part to make sure these cars are identified and fixed – buyers, sellers and owners alike.”

Bob Knotts’ YouTube video


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