DENVER — Cars with open, unfixed recalls can pose risks to safety, performance and value, but selling cars with open recalls is legal and it happens more than you might think.
A KWGN Channel 2 investigation found tens of thousands of vehicles for sale right here in Colorado with unfixed recalls, and if you don’t know what to look for you could put yourself or family in jeopardy.
Earlier this year, 2.6 million general motors vehicles with faulty ignition switches were recalled after the problem contributed to at least 13 deaths and many more injuries.
Despite the highly publicized recall, KWGN Channel 2 undercover cameras found car after car with the same unfixed ignition switch recall for sale on used car lots across the Front Range.
“Currently in Colorado, there is no requirement that a dealer double check to make sure that there’s an open recall on the vehicle,” said Todd O’Connell, Executive Director of the Colorado Independent Auto Dealers Association.
“Open recalls are one of the most rampant issues involved with used cars right now,” said Christopher Basso a spokesperson for Carfax.
According to Carfax, the company that traces vehicle histories, 3.5 million cars with open recalls were listed for sale online last year. More than 62,000 of those vehicles were listed in Colorado.
Although most dealers offer vehicle history reports, some of those reports don’t include recall information. In fact, only one of four dealers FOX31 visited claimed to know the car they were selling needed a fix.
Though you can call a dealership for recall information you can also find out in seconds online and all you need is the make of the car and the VIN number.
“Both buyers and sellers have access to resources that are free that can tell them about unfixed recalls on used cars,” Basso said.
Manufacturers all offer their own recall search pages and most also share their data with Carfax, which has created an easy to use, free recall search page.
Though buyers should take advantage of the free resources, O’Connell says dealers also need to utilize them and pass along the information to customers.
“Reputable dealers will disclose everything they know about the vehicle,” O’Connell said. “It just is a win win for every scenario to have the consumer know about it or have the dealer already have it fixed.”
Use the following links to check for recalls on your vehicle