According to “At least 1.4 million used cars that were recalled but not repaired were for sale in 2009.” And according to the National Highway Safety Patrol 2014 was a record year for auto recalls. Almost twice as many vehicles were recalled in 2014 than the previous auto recall record of 30.8 million back in 2004. Many of the auto recalls in 2014 were due to Takata Air Bags and faulty ignition switches from GM.

Defective Car Parts in a Recalled vehicle that have not been repaired and may cause personal injury

In March 2015 USA Today reported that Fifty-seven deaths had been linked to the GM defect and that five deaths has been linked to Takata. Based on the number of increased recalls, we think it’s safe to make the assumption that the number of used cars with unrepaired recalls has increased.

What to Do – do your homework.

Before purchasing a used car make sure to use the NHTSA’s new search tool that lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if a specific vehicle has not been repaired as part of a safety recall in the last 15 years.

What this VIN search tool covers:

  • Safety recalls that are incomplete on a vehicle
  • Safety recalls conducted over the past 15 calendar years
  • Safety recalls conducted by major light auto automakers, including motorcycle manufacturers.

What this VIN search tool does NOT cover:

  • Completed safety recall information
  • Manufacturer customer service or other non-safety recall campaigns
  • International vehicles
  • Very recently announced safety recalls for which not all VINs have been identified
  • Safety recalls that are more than 15 years old (except where a manufacturer offers more coverage)
  • Safety recalls conducted by small vehicle manufacturers, including some ultra-luxury brands and specialty applications