What you need to know.
More than 1-in-4 (27 percent) used cars for sale at CarMax dealerships in three states had at least one open recall, according to a recent survey by a coalition of auto safety advocates. The group noted that the unrepaired defects included Takata airbags and General Motors ignition switches which have been linked to multiple deaths and injuries. “Those vehicles are potentially hazardous, not only to the people who buy them but also to their passengers and everyone else who shares the roads.”
CarMax is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars. Last year, the company estimated more than 47 million vehicles in the U.S. have at least one unfixed recall issue. It said in response to the survey findings, “We are dedicated to making sure our customers know about open recalls prior to purchase.”
The problem is that selling used cars with unrepaired safety defects under recall is not unlawful. And, only franchised new-car dealers can complete recall repairs; independent dealerships like CarMax cannot.
If you own a used car, it is important for your safety, and the safety of others, to find out if your vehicle has an open recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a search tool that can help. It uses your Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) to determine if your vehicle has not been repaired as part of a safety recall in the last 15 years. You can find your car’s 17-character VIN on the lower left side of the windshield or on your car’s registration card