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3 min read published September 27 2022

Music written by Tara Mello Written by Tara Mello Driving for Dollars

Tara Mello Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances with concise, well-researched, and well-understood information that breaks down complicated topics into bite-sized pieces. The Bankrate guarantee

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If you have questions about money. Bankrate can help. Our experts have been helping you master your finances for more than four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to make it through life’s financial journey. Bankrate follows a strict standard of conduct, which means that you can trust that our content is honest and precise. Our award-winning editors and reporters provide honest and trustworthy content that will help you make the right financial decisions. Our content produced by our editorial staff is factual, accurate and uninfluenced through our sponsors. We’re honest about how we are in a position to provide quality information, competitive rates and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for the placement of sponsored products and services, or by you clicking on specific links that are posted on our website. This compensation could affect the way, location and in what order items appear in listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law. We also offer mortgage or home equity products, as well as other home lending products. Other factors, like our own rules for our website and whether a product is available in the area you reside in or is within your own personal credit score can also impact the way and place products are listed on this website. While we strive to provide the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include details about every financial or credit product or service. If you are considering a used car purchase, it is critical to know if there’s an open recall for the used car — and, if it is then whether it’s been repaired. Recalls for used cars are usually caused by a malfunction or potential issue related to safety issues. Recalls that are not addressed could cause an accident or fire in a vehicle, harming the occupants or causing a jump in . Dealers must only perform repairs to new vehicles. In most states dealers aren’t required repair old vehicles or inform buyers of recalls. They might not even be aware of a recall. You are responsible for researching the history of your car. What can you do to determine whether a car that you own is part of a recall To find out whether a car has been subject to recalls, you can search the . The database can be searched using a car’s , found on the car’s windshield to the lower left or year, model, and make in the event that you don’t have the VIN. The NHTSA database contains information on unrepaired vehicles affected by in the last fifteen calendar year. The database contains recalls that were that were issued by major manufacturers of motorcycles, automakers and even some heavy and medium-duty truck producers. Although it’s a useful source but the NHTSA database is not able to contain information about vehicles that have been repaired in response to a safety recall. It also does not have any data on international vehicles. In the event that you do not find any recalls, review the NHTSA’s monthly investigation reports, which provide details on ongoing defects investigations. Recalls usually begin with an inquiry. It is possible that the car you’re looking to purchase is under investigation. If so, keep on top of the developments to be aware whether a recall on the car has been issued. What should you do if the used car you’re interested in is a part of a recall If your desired used car is subject to a recall and you aren’t sure about it, don’t lose hope of it. Repairs should not cost the seller or buyer anything since the manufacturer covers recall fixes. Get the vehicle’s VIN if you don’t already have it If you do discover a recall related to the car’s model, make and year of manufacture, obtain the car’s VIN at the time of purchase from the vendor. Enter it in the recall section of the website of the manufacturer. With the VIN you will be able to determine if the car is subject to recall. On some manufacturer websites, you can also see whether the vehicle has been fixed. Get the car repaired Manufacturers are required to repair vehicles that have been subject to safety recalls for free. So while independent dealers are not legally required to carry out an open recall in accordance with Federal law, this will be free to fix the vehicle. Recall laws differ by state, meaning that dealers in your area could be legally required to make repairs prior to selling you a vehicle. It is also possible to ask the seller to repair the car before you purchase it. Ask the owner for receipts. If the car you are purchasing has been repaired Ask the owner for documentation and review it thoroughly. Only dealers who carry that model are allowed to carry out recall repairs. Independent mechanics are able to do some recall repairs at the owner’s expense. If a dealer failed to complete the repairs, you may want to have a dealer check that the work was carried out correctly and thoroughly. The bottom line Before purchasing a used car, research if the vehicle has been part of any safety recalls and whether the required repairs were made. The NHTSA is typically the most reliable way to determine whether a recall affected the vehicle you’d like to buy. To safeguard yourself in the event of a recall the recall, you should sign up for recall alerts issued from the NHTSA. You can choose to receive these alerts by email or install the NHTSA’s SaferCar application for your smartphone to receive recall notifications. Related articles: SHARE:

Writers: Tara Mello Driving for Dollars Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to control their finances by providing clear, well-researched information that breaks down complex topics into manageable bites.

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