While federal law prohibits car dealerships from selling any new vehicle under recall, people buying a used car are not similarly protected. Several recent massive recalls -- including the Takata air bag recall and the GM ignition switch recall -- means that there are potentially millions of used cars on the market with open recalls.

Many buyers of used cars are never aware there has been a recall, which increases driving safety risks to drivers, passengers and other vehicles that share the road. Since fixes as part of a recall are free, there shouldn’t be anything preventing consumers from having their vehicle fixed at their dealership.

Before you purchase a used car from a dealer or a private party, get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) from the seller and use any one of these methods for checking for open recalls:

  • Visit the recalls page at SaferCar.gov
  • Visit the manufacturer’s website to check for recall information
  • Call the service department of a local dealership that sells the make of car you are planning to buy and ask if there are any open recalls
  • Use CarFax’s free recall check service

If you find that the vehicle you plan to buy has an outstanding recall, you can still buy the vehicle and schedule a free repair at a franchised dealership. However, you should be aware that there are some risks in driving the vehicle until it is fixed and that some recalls can take a significant amount of time to fix since parts may not be readily available.

If you, or someone you know, have been injured and need an attorney to help with your property damage settlement, our Texas personal injury attorneys can help. Please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.

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