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Used cars sold with safety issues? New law would require recall problems to be repaired first

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 09:35:18-04

Some people who are traveling over the holiday may not know their car could have an unrepaired safety issue.

That could be true even if they just bought a used car since disclosure is not required.

"We found cars were being sold with door latches that don't work, seat belts that might not operate, airbags that might not deploy," says Kevin Brasler with Consumers' Checkbook.

Brasler's nonprofit looked at 600 vehicles for sale and found 227 had "at least one unaddressed problem subject to a recall, almost all of them serious."

Right now, new cars cannot be sold if there is an unrepaired recall.

But with dealers selling used cars, there is nothing requiring that a safety recall be repaired or even disclosed before the car is sold and you take it home.

"What other industry in this country allows you to sell something that is potentially harmful to someone using the product?" Brasler says.

He says it's one reason that 1 in 6 cars on the road has an unrepaired potentially dangerous safety recall.

But he says new legislation could help change that.

It's called the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act.

It would require car dealers to repair safety recalls in used cars before selling, leasing or loaning them to customers.

But on its website, the National Automobile Dealer's Association says similar bills were not good ideas.

They say these bills would "devalue vehicles and harm consumers and not affect private sellers."

They also say that with many recalled vehicles, the government and manufacturers have deemed them acceptable to drive while awaiting repairs.

Ultimately, if you're buying, it's up to you to protect yourself.

Click here to check the model and make or the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to see if there are any open recalls.