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Millions of used cars sold with unfixed recalls - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Millions of used cars sold with unfixed recalls

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When buying a car –there are so many decisions to make.  Size, color, cost, model, make, the list goes on.  But if you're buying a used car, you now have throw "recalled vehicle" onto your checklist.

ABC's Nightline recently did an undercover investigation in New York to check on what some dealerships were selling.  When one used car dealer was asked if one of his Chevy Cobalt's was safe, this is what he said: "Listen it's a small car, for being what it is, it's safe."

What he doesn't mention, and later claims he didn't know, is that the 2006 Chevy Cobalt in question is at the center of the massive controversial recall, after taking the lives of at least 13 people.

But this car dealer isn't alone - Carfax reports more than 3.5 million cars were listed for sale online in 2013 with an unfixed safety recall. That's a scary statistic - and even more frightening – more than 10% of those cars are in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.

"In Texas alone, there are over 300,000 cars with unfixed recalls for sale online last year, almost 50,000 were in Louisiana, and another 20-30,000 were in Arkansas."

And Chris Basso with Carfax says that's just the beginning.

"Online is just the tip of the iceberg, there are potentially millions more that are for sale through the paper classifieds, and on the side of the road, and more importantly being driven every single day."

Basso says this is part of a larger problem in our country.

"About 30% of recalled cars don't get fixed, and when you add that number up every year it continues to pile on," he says. "There's a lot of reasons why these recalled cars aren't being fixed but perhaps one of them is that people just don't take it seriously, or they think that it can't happen to them, or it may be a minor issue.  These are safety recalls, so there are no minor recalls."

And as it turns out, there's no law that requires used car sellers to tell customers about open recalls - or have them fixed.

So what can you, as a consumer, do to ensure the safety of the car you're driving?

There are a lot of resources out there.  Carfax.com is a great resource – and often online many dealers provide free Carfax reports.  Using the VIN number and the make/model/year, consumers can visit Safercar.gov, or the car manufacturer's site - for free - to get information about any recalls.  It just takes a few seconds - that could potentially save your life.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has apps for iphones and Androids that provide users free access to safety information- including recalls.  It's a good tool for when you go out shopping for a used car.  More information can be found here and here.

Even for consumers not shopping for a car, but wondering if your current call is safe, you can use these same web sites.  And, if a recall is issued, bring it to a dealer, and it will be fixed at the manufacturer's expense.  Even if you are the second or third owner of the car and hear of a recall online or on television, with your VIN number, you can get the car fixed.

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