Many times people shop for a used car at a used car lot and are under the impression that the used car dealer has checked for safety defects or at least checked for recalls on components of the car.
Sadly, that is often NOT the case. Many used cars are sold when there have been open recalls by the manufacturer to address safety defects.
Even though there have been safety recalls the prior owner may not have taken them in to be fixed.
Oft-times, the buyer only finds out about the safety defect when something goes terribly wrong.
Recent articles in the press have shown that as many as 50 percent of used cars are sold with unaddressed safety recalls.
There have been at least 6 deaths worldwide recently by defective Takata airbags In some cases, when the airbag ruptures, pieces of metal inside can puncture the lungs, causing death.
General Motors has also had many recalls involving safety including ignition switches that malfunction causing serious crashes.
Although Federal Law may be in the process of changing to require safety checks on used car recalls, for now consumers are on their own.
What can you do?
A used car potential buyer can buy a report from Carfax for about $35. Alternatively, they can search the database maintained by the Federal Government for around $2.
That database is called The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. It can be accessed here as long as you have the vehicle VIN number.
Prudent buyers will consult both as sometimes Carfax is more complete.