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Are Used Car Buyers Out of Luck?

11699599_sThe NHTSA just got a boost in federal funding for its defect office – the organization’s budget about tripled – so, as last year showed an increased attention to safety and identifying and fixing defects, we may see further progress in the coming year.

We’ve heard a lot about vehicle safety in the last several months. A recent study showed that a record number of models – nine in total – boasted a death rate of zero. Over the course of three years studied, not one person was killed in an accident in these vehicles. Alongside this list was a list of the vehicles in which the most deaths occurred. At the beginning of this year, we also covered reports announcing the 71 safest new vehicle models meeting tougher-than-ever safety standards.

So, if you’re looking to buy a 2015 model, safety is on your side. But what about those of us buying used cars?

airbag-recall-lawyer-takataPurchasing a pre-owned vehicle is often a more economical choice than buying new, especially for families with one or more teen drivers. But there’s a hidden danger that comes with buying a used car.  Used cars with defects or recalls often go unadvertised or unfixed. The NHTSA insists that cars with defects and recalls should not be available for sale or for rental. But currently, dealers are not required by federal law to repair cars or to disclose that the vehicle has been recalled. Many dealers say that to repair all the vehicles on their lots would be a costly and time-consuming endeavor, made more difficult by the fact that they would have to wait for their cars to be serviced at competing dealerships.  So, it is possible that vehicles in used car lots might have faulty ignition switches, or defective airbags  that have not been repaired. What’s worse, you may not even know it’s there until it is too late.

So what can buyers do to protect themselves? To find out if the vehicle you’re looking at has been included in a recall, run the VIN number through a federal database like the NHTSA, look at the automaker’s website, or request a report from Carfax.  Most people, when looking for a new/used car, aren’t thinking about a faulty airbag inflator or other invisible defect.  However, as auto industry recalls have been in the news more and more, it might be something more drivers start to pay attention to.

Of course, checking your vehicle’s VIN number for recalls and potentially dangerous defects is a good idea whether your car is years old or brand new. If you or a loved one have been in an accident involving a car that has been recalled, contact the car accident and product liability lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling auto-recall cases and we would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions. Contact us at 855-866-5529. 

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