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7 On Your Side: Used car recalls

Seven On Your Side
April 16, 2010 8:26:49 PM PDT
Millions new cars have been recalled in the past half a year. But, what about when you buy a used car? If you think a dealer has to tell you the car you're buying has been recalled, think again.

Every time Shone Russell turns his car's ignition he gets a noisy reminder that the used car he bought has serious problems.

"It's not safe at all, we don't use it," said Shone.

He bought the used Chrysler last year.

It's been back to the dealership several times for repairs but it still doesn't run.

"They kept promising me they were going to fix it," Shone said.

Shone never knew 4 four years ago, his car had been subject to a Chrysler recall to replace a faulty fuel module.

The notice warned if it's not fixed, the "engine could stall" "causing a crash."

But what's worse? Shone researched and found the repairs were never done.

For the past half year, Shone's car hasn't left the driveway.

He says the engine constantly stalls.

"At this point I am paying for it and I can't do anything with it," Shone explained.

"It is very likely that a third party dealership or third party seller won't know about a recall because they are not going take the time and do the work," said Jon Linkov of Consumer Reports.

In fact, dealers aren't obligated to tell you buyers about a recalls, unless a "stop sale" order is issued.

That's what happened when Toyota recalled millions of new cars.

"If you don't prepare yourself and rely on what the dealership tells you. You're going to be out of luck at the end of the day. It's really important to do your research," warned Linkov.

That means getting the car checked out by a licensed mechanic, and checking online for recalls.

It takes just a few seconds. Go on the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Just click on "safety recalls" and type in your car's year, make and model.

It's a minute's worth of work that could save you thousands.

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