If you plan on buying a used car in Florida, you may reap the benefit of spending less money on something almost as reliable as a new car. It is absolutely critical that you do your homework both on the dealership and any vehicle you intend to purchase, however. Doing so may not only save you money in the future, but it could also save your life or someone else's life. Here's why.
There are no laws regulating used car safety
New car dealers are obligated, by federal law, to repair open recalls before they can sell a vehicle. Used car dealers, on the other hand, are not bound by the same regulations. In addition, they are not required to act in good faith, such as repairing open recalls or disclosing hazardous defects to buyers.
Open recalls on used cars are common
Ever hear of AutoNation? They're a used car dealership regarded as "America's Largest Auto Retailer," with dozens of locations across the United States. They were recently probed in an investigation conducted by The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety for the high number of used cars sold on their lots with unrepaired recalls.
According to the report:
- Out of more than 2,400 cars sold at 28 locations across 16 cities, 285 cars were found to have unrepaired recalls
- Some of the recalls included Takata Airbag and General Motor ignition switch defects — both of which are known to cause fatalities
- There were no available remedies for 47 of the recalls identified. Buyers would have to wait months before getting them repaired
- Many of the vehicles with unrepaired recalls were sold at locations where they could have been easily repaired by a mechanic
How to find out if a used car has an open recall
Finding out if a used car has an open recall is simple. You must first locate the vehicle identification number (VIN) either where the driver's side dashboard meets the windshield or on your insurance policy.
You can then enter your VIN in the NHTSA recall search. If there are any recalls currently open, you will see them in the search results. You will also see a list of authorized dealerships where they can be fixed for no cost.
Not all mechanical defects have open recalls, however. That's why it's up to the used car dealership to act in good faith. They should either disclose mechanical defects or repair them before selling a car to you.
Mechanical defects, such as brake or wheel problems, could result in serious crashes, especially when something goes wrong without warning. If you were hurt in a crash due to a serious mechanical defect that should have either been addressed or disclosed, it's critical that you take legal action.
Speak to an experienced car accident attorney at Farrow & Pulice, P.A. to get started on your claim. Our law office is located in Sarasota. We also serve clients in Laurel, Englewood, Nokomis, Venice, Sarasota, Osprey and Sarasota County. To schedule your free case evaluation with our legal team, contact us online today.