According to a recent study, more than two million recalled cars were for sale online in 2012. Some had safety issues that could cause a fire -- or worse -- an accident. But now, there's a way you can easily check those recalls when shopping around before you get behind the wheel.
"Open recalls are a serious threat to the public safety here in Houston," said Chris Basso with CARFAX.
Basso says they collect information from over 75,000 sources which go into their reports, including mileage readings, service and repair info and now recalls. The best part is it's free of charge.
"Right now, there's 34 manufacturers that report open recall information to CARFAX," Basso said.
With more consumers logging on for their car shopping needs, it's difficult to see which used vehicles have open recalls.
For example, we ran the VIN number on this 2006 Honda Odyssey being sold locally. CARFAX states it has an open recall for the master cylinder, increasing the risk of a crash.
Also according to CARFAX, we found a 2002 Ford F-150 has an open recall on its cruise control switch, something that's been documented to cause a fire.
When it comes to finding a reputable used car dealer, Basso says to also look for CARFAX Advantage Dealers.
"Look online for reviews of local dealers. Ask friends and family who they have bought from," Basso said.
"That's a service we do to all our vehicles before they even makes it to the lot. We make sure all those recalls are addressed," said Philip Sommer with Texas Auto.
Sommer says every vehicle he sells goes though an extensive inspection and background check. If there's an open recall, it's taken care of before it's sold.
"It's free for us, as well as it's free for the consumer," Sommer said.
"Finally, take the car to a mechanic, have it inspected. Make sure you're just putting you and your family in a safe, reliable used car," Basso said.
Open recalls are free to get repaired by vehicle manufacturers, so it's important to check if a used car you're interested in buying has a recall bulletin out on it.
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