CLEVELAND - For all of the attention that new cars get, there are just as many used ones sold every day, and you don't always know where they came from or if it had been recalled.
The car might look great and it might come with a warranty, but experts said that it's important for potential buyers to do their homework, 19/43 News' Rick Jackson reported.
The Highway Safety Administration just re-issued 1995 warnings about more than 6 million cars whose owners never answered recall orders.
19/43 News found a 1989 Acura Legend at a local dealership. If you did research on that car, you would find that it had been subject to a recall for a seatbelt problem. If it hadn't been taken care of, it could simply fly apart if you were involved in an accident.
"If they don't call the dealer and ask about the recall, they would never know," used car dealer Rick Scurry said.
Scurry, who has been in the business for 25 years, said that he'd love to help his clients, but by the time a recall order reaches him, the car is generally gone, and maybe even sold again.
With newer used car sales, a warranted car means recall records will be tracked, but with older cars, even those where the dealer is responsible for certain fixes, it's still up to you.
"Pay attention. Call your dealer. Give him the serial number," Scurry said. "They'll send it through to see if there is a recall."
Recall service is free from dealers, and those few that allow out-of-house repairs do generally reimburse the vehicle's owner.
As for those seat belts, the 1995 recall included 11 makes and dozens of models built in the late 80s and early 90s. You might want to check.
Another dealer said that it's not only in your hands, but the information is at your fingertips. There are numerous Internet services like www.carfax.com, which can trace the car history, and will even alert you to recalls on your model.