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3 min read Published September 27 2022
Music written by Tara Mello Written by Tara Mello Driving for Dollars
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We are compensated for the placement of sponsored products and, services, or when you click on specific links that are posted on our site. This compensation could affect the way, location and when products are listed and categories, unless it is prohibited by law. We also offer mortgage home equity, mortgage and other products for home loans. Other elements, like our own website rules and whether a product is available within your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact the manner in which products are featured on this site. We strive to provide the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include information about every credit or financial product or service. If you’re considering purchasing a car used it is essential to find out if there’s an open recall of the used car — and, if there is the extent to which it has been fixed. Used car recalls are typically due to a fault or potential issue related to safety concerns. Unrepaired recalls could lead to an accident or fire in a vehicle which could cause injury to the occupants of the vehicle or even causing a crash . Dealers must only complete repairs on brand new vehicles. In the majority of states dealers aren’t required repair used vehicles or notify customers of recalls. They may not even be aware that there is a recall. You are responsible for researching the history of your car. What can you do to determine if a used car is part of a recall To find out whether a vehicle is involved in a recall, you can search the . This database is searchable using a car’s , found on the car’s windshield to the lower left side, or the year, make, and model in the absence of the VIN. The NHTSA database provides information about unrepaired vehicles affected by within the past 15 calendar years. The database contains recalls that were from major automobile manufacturers, motorcycle manufacturers and even some medium and heavy-duty truck makers. While it is a valuable source, the NHTSA database is not able to give information on vehicles that have been repaired in response to a safety recall. Also, it doesn’t contain any information about international vehicles. Check defect investigations If there are no recalls, look through the NHTSA’s monthly investigation reports, which include details on ongoing defects investigations. A recall often starts by conducting an investigation. You might find that the car you’re looking to purchase is being investigated. If so, keep up-to-date with the latest developments to know of any recalls announced. What to do if a used car you want is part of recall If the used vehicle 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 the buyer anything since the manufacturer covers recall fixes. Get the vehicle’s VIN in case you don’t have it. If you find a recall for the car’s make, model and year, you can get the car’s VIN by contacting the dealer. You can enter it into the recall section of the site of the manufacturer. With the VIN you can find out whether the vehicle is part of the recall. Some manufacturer websites also note whether the car has been repaired. Get the car repaired Manufacturers are required to fix vehicles that have been subject to safety recalls for free. Therefore, even though independent dealers are not required to with an open recall in accordance with federal law, it will be free to fix the vehicle. Recall laws differ by state, so dealerships in your region may legally be required to conduct repairs prior to selling you a vehicle. You can also request the seller to fix the vehicle before you buy it. Ask the owner for receipts If the car you’re purchasing has been repaired, ask the owner for documentation and review it carefully. Only dealers who are authorized to carry that car brand are authorized to complete recall repairs. However, independent mechanics can perform certain recall repairs for owners at their own expense. If a dealer did not complete the repairs, you may want to have a dealer check that the work was carried out in a professional and thorough manner. The bottom line Before purchasing a used car, research whether the car was part of any safety recalls, and if the necessary repairs were made. The NHTSA is often the most reliable way to determine whether a recall has impacted a car you’d like to buy. To ensure your safety after a recall the recall, you should sign up to receive recall alerts issued from the NHTSA. You can choose to receive these alerts by email, or use the NHTSA’s SaferCar app on your phone to be alerted of recalls. Related articles: SHARE:
The author, Tara Mello Driving for Dollars Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to manage their finances with precise, well-researched and well-sourced information that breaks down complex topics into manageable bites.
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