How to avoid buying a used car that is under recall
Posted at: 03/07/2013 4:44 PM
| Updated at: 03/07/2013 5:25 PM
By: Berkeley Brean | WHEC.com
If you're in the market to buy a car, chances are you're going to look at a used car. But how do you know if the car you want to buy isn't under recall? Would you or the dealer know about this information?
The idea came from an investigation on the Today Show Thursday morning. They used a hidden camera to catch a used car salesmen who sold cars under recall but didn't alert the buyer. The story suggested the recall information is easy for used car dealers to get. But News10NBC found out the opposite is true.
How do you know if a used car is under recall? We asked used car dealer Tom Dioguardi.
Tom Dioguardi, used car dealer, said, “We wouldn't know. We wouldn't have any idea if a car has an open recall.”
That's because there's no database of recalls listing specific cars. For instance, there may be a recall on Chevrolets built over a period of years. But a particular Chevy on Dioguardi's lot? There's no resource for that. Used car dealers like Tom Dioguardi would have to call a Chevy dealer and have them run the serial number of every Chevy he has.
Dioguardi said, “At some point those service writers, they get upset with you if you call them, especially if you have thousands of cars that you handle.”
Brad McAreavy, Rochester Automotive Dealers' Association, said,
“There's not a resource of information that is readily available for dealers to access on specific vehicles.”
Brad McAreavy is president of the Rochester Automotive Dealers' Association. He doesn't represent independent used car dealers but he sympathizes with them.
McAreavy said, “They can determine whether the make or model of the vehicle that they have had a recall at some point in time. They have no ability on their own to verify whether that individual car had a recall on it and whether that recall has been completed.”
McAreavy says Congress passed a law last summer ordering the Federal Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create a national recall database listing specific cars.
McAreavy said, “And everybody, every dealer, every repair shop would have access to that recall information. Database isn't there yet. I do not know why. That would be a good question to ask the DOT.”
News10NBC did and we're waiting to hear their answer. In the meantime. there is a way you can check for yourself if you're buying a used car. Just go to safecar.gov. You can enter the VIN or vehicle identification number of the car you're interested in and see if that make and model was ever under recall. If yes, then call a dealership of that car and ask them to run the VIN to see if the recall includes your specific car and if it's been fixed.