(Memphis) WREG is on your side with some information you can't afford to miss if you're about to buy a used car!
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration sent the On Your Side Investigators a list of 21 million vehicles that were recalled in 2013 alone.
If you're about to buy a used car, how do you know if it's been recalled or not?
Like many consumers these days, Josh Cruse went car shopping online before ever setting foot on a lot. He and his wife recently had a little girl, so safety was a top priority.
"Crash test rating was the high thing, gas mileage and dependability," says Cruse who ended up with the 2013 Subaru Crosstrek.
Cruse also checked vehicle history, but research shows lots of car shoppers miss that step, especially checking for recalls.
Carfax recently released results of a study where it found more than 3 million cars for sale online, that had an open recall.
Spokesperson Chris Basso says MidSouth states are some of the worst.
"In fact, we estimate that about every one in nine cars that's listed online in the Memphis area has an open recall."
Basso says the vehicles are on sites like Craigslist and online auto malls.
"Anywhere cars are sold, there's a possibility for any one of those cars to have an unfixed open recall," explains Basso.
Why so many?
Car owners don't always pay attention to recall information, so the fix never happens, which means customers could buy it that way.
Research also shows MidSouth residents are most at risk during the months of March and April.
Tax refunds put cash in wallets and warmer weather means more car shopping.
Basso added, "So it's important for buyers to know up front, information that's critical to their used car purchase."
Carfax.com has a free, recall check, you just in plug in the VIN.
Safercar.gov allows consumers to search for recalls by make and model. Officials say they plan to add a VIN search later this year.
Jay Keras of Jim Keras Automotive says they're a Carfax dealer, and workers also check for recalls when customers go back for service.
"The internet's there, it doesn't cost you anything, go ahead get online, do all the research you want, compare everything, then come out and purchase what you like," Keras says.
Safercar.gov also has a smart phone app which comes in handy for consumers who are out car shopping. However, it's critical to ask the dealer about vehicle history.