Consumer Alert: Shopping for a used car? Check for recalls before buying!

On Your Side
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- From exploding airbags to stalling engines there have been plenty of recalls out there for consumers to sift through.

In 2015, there were 900 recalls affecting 51 million vehicles nationwide.

To make matters worse, every year 25 percent of recalled cars never get fixed.

That's an issue for people like Kevin Phillips who has his eye on a used Nissan Armada.

These days, safety and recalls are on his mind.

"You just assume if I'm a customer giving and paying this much money, from a business, they're going to handle that already."

That's not always the case.

Dealers can't sell new cars with open recalls.

A recent law even forces rental car companies to fix recalls before renting them out.

But, you don't get the same protection with used cars.

"So used cars can be sold with unfixed recalls."

Chris Basso is with CarFax.

The company's data shows there are nearly 300,000 vehicles across Memphis with open recalls, which is the highest percentage in the state.

While some could be rolling on the road, others could be sitting on lots with a sale sticker.

"These are things that can cause fires, crashes, exploding air bags, safety related issues that not only put the passengers of those vehicles at risk but other people on the road as well," said Basso.

There are ways to check for recalls before buying a used car. has a free recall check, the government has a VIN lookup tool.

There are also apps to scan VINs on the spot.

Even if you purchase a vehicle with the recall unfixed, Basso says you can still get it repaired.

"You can get practically any recalled vehicle fixed by simply calling a local dealer that services that part, make and model."

David Koehler is the Memphis Market President for AutoNation.

He told WREG, "We don't believe it's reasonable to expect a consumer to know every recall that's available out there."

The company now puts a stop sale on all vehicles with open recalls.

AutoNation holds and tags recalled cars until they get fixed.

"We didn't feel that we could for one car deal, put one of our customers at risk."

A move that brought repeat customers like Phillips back to the dealership.

"I know they've already done all the homework. If I do end up buying it when it comes off the lot, it's not going to be any kind of recalls."


Latest News

More News