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3 min read published September 27, 2022

Written by Tara Mello Written by Tara Mello Driving for Dollars

Tara Mello Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to control their finances with clear, well-researched information that breaks down complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promises

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You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have helped you understand your finances for more than four decades. We continually strive to give our customers the right advice and tools required to succeed throughout life’s financial journey. Bankrate adheres to a strict code of conduct , so you can trust that our information is trustworthy and accurate. Our award-winning editors and journalists create honest and accurate content that will help you make the best financial decisions. The content we create by our editorial staff is factual, objective and uninfluenced from our advertising. We’re honest regarding how we’re able to bring quality information, competitive rates and valuable tools to our customers by describing how we earn money. Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated for the promotion of sponsored goods and, services, or through you clicking specific links that are posted on our site. This compensation could influence the manner, place and in what order items appear in listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home loan products. Other factors, like our own rules for our website and whether or not a product is available within the area you reside in or is within your self-selected credit score range may also influence how and where products appear on this site. We strive to provide an array of offers, Bankrate does not include information about each financial or credit item or service. If you are considering purchasing a car used, it is critical to find out if there’s an open recall for the vehicle you are considering buying and, if so the extent to which it has been repaired. Recalls on used cars are generally caused by a malfunction or potential problem related to safety concerns. Unrepaired recalls could lead to a car accident or fire, harming the occupants or causing a jump in . Car sellers must only perform repairs to new vehicles. In many states dealers aren’t required repair used vehicles or notify buyers of recalls. They might not be aware that there is recall. You are the one responsible for researching the history of the car. Find out whether a car that you own is part of recalls to determine whether a vehicle has been part of a recall and you are able to search the . The database can be searched using the VIN number, which can be found on the windshield of a car’s lower left or year, make, and model if you don’t have the VIN. The NHTSA database contains information on non-repaired vehicles that have been affected by recalls in the last 15 calendar years. The database contains recalls that were from major automakers, motorcycle manufacturers as well as a few heavy and medium-duty truck producers. While it’s an excellent source, the NHTSA database doesn’t contain information about vehicles that have been repaired in response to the safety recall. The database also doesn’t have any data on international vehicles. Check defect investigations If you don’t find any recalls, look through the NHTSA’s monthly investigation reports, which include details about ongoing defect investigations. A recall often starts as an investigation. You may find that the car you’re looking to purchase is being investigated. If so, you must stay abreast of the investigation to know whether a recall on the car has been or is issued. What do you do if a used car you want is part of a recall If your desired used vehicle is subject to recall and you aren’t sure about it, don’t lose hope of it. Repairs should not cost the seller or the buyer any money since the manufacturer will cover recall fixes. Find the car’s VIN if you don’t already have it. If you notice a recall on the car’s model, make and year number, get the vehicle’s VIN by contacting the dealer. Enter it in the section for recalls on the website of the manufacturer. By using the VIN you can find out whether the vehicle is subject to recall. On some manufacturer websites, you can also see whether the vehicle has been repaired. Get the car repaired Manufacturers are required to repair vehicles under a safety recall free of charge. So while independent dealers aren’t required to with an open recall in accordance with Federal law, this should not cost anything to repair the vehicle. Recall laws vary by state, which means dealerships in your area may be legally required to make repairs prior to selling you a car. It is also possible to ask the seller to repair the vehicle prior to you buying it. Ask the owner for receipts. If the vehicle you are buying has already been repaired Ask the owner for proof of repair and then read the repair thoroughly. Only dealers who are authorized to carry that model are allowed to carry out recall repairs. However, independent mechanics can perform certain recall repairs at the owner’s expense. If a dealer did not complete repairs, you might want to have a dealer verify the work was done in a professional and thorough manner. The bottom line Before purchasing a second-hand car, check whether the car has been involved in any safety recalls and if the required repairs were made. The NHTSA is usually the best place to determine the impact of recalls on a car you’d like to buy. To safeguard yourself in the event of a recall you’ve signed up, think about signing up to receive recall alerts issued from the NHTSA. You can choose to receive these notifications via email, or install the NHTSA’s SaferCar app on your phone to be alerted of recalls. Related Articles: SHARE

Writers: Tara Mello Driving for Dollars Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances by providing concise, well-studied information that breaks down otherwise complicated subjects into digestible pieces.

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