Check before you buy: Some 60,000 cars with unfixed recalls for sale in Maryland

With half of the year left to go, 2014 has already broken the record for the number of cars recalled in a single year. General Motors alone added 8.2 million vehicles to its recall list over faulty ignition switches Monday.
 
It's getting more and more difficult to keep up with all of the recalls, especially if you're in the market for a used car. 
 
An estimated one in seven vehicles on U.S. roads are driving with an open or unfixed recall.
 
"We're likely looking at a record year for car recalls and that's alarming in itself, but the more alarming thing is how many of those recalled cars don't get fixed," said Christopher Basso of CarFax.
 
In Maryland, about 60,000 cars with unfixed recalls are currently for sale. Basso said these cars have the potential to cause serious injury.
 
"These are safety-related recalls, things that can cause fires, crashes, inadvertent airbag deployments," he said. "They not only put you and your passengers at risk in the car, but others on the road as well."
 
For new cars, tracking recalls is easy. Manufacturers notify dealerships and customers right away when they announce a recall, and they're often fixed right at the dealership.
 
But Peter Kitzmiller, president of the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association , admits that it's much more difficult when you're dealing with used cars of different makes and models.
 
"If I'm a Chevrolet dealer and I sell a used Nissan, I may not be aware, I'm not a Nissan dealer, so I certainly don't get communications from Nissan," he said. "I may not be aware that there may be a recall on that Nissan. A lot of dealers are, getting more sophisticated, that if there is one, the dealers are more than likely going to take care of it before the vehicle is sold."
 
At Northwest Honda in Owings Mills , Chief Operating Officer Josh Dreiband runs a successful pre-owned car business. He makes sure his staff checks each car for open recalls before purchasing it or accepting it as a trade. When a customer buys a car, employees also run a check the day of delivery to make sure a recall hasn't popped up.
 
"Things could still might come up later, but at least we do the best of our ability to know today, when you're purchasing the vehicle," he said.
 
But dealers and private sellers aren't legally required to tell buyers that a car has an open recall or get it fixed before selling it.
 
It's something ABC2News encountered when we sent a producer to a used car lot in Baltimore County. It didn't take long for our producer to locate a 2013 Nissan Altima out for sale with an open recall for a faulty passenger side airbag sensor.
 
Required or not, Dreiband said he feels it's a dealer's responsibility to be upfront with customers about a vehicle's status.
 
"I don't have to, I have to, because I have to sleep at night," he said. "You don't have to, but it's the right thing to do."
 
Anyone with a smart phone can check any vehicle for an unfixed recall. CarFax has a webpage where you can choose the vehicle's make, plug in the vin number and immediately see if it has any unfixed recalls, and each manufacturer has its own recall check website. 
 
"It's so important for all of us to take responsibility and check for recalls before we buy or sell a used car," Basso said. "By doing so, it helps make our roads safer, it helps to maintain the safety performance and the resale value of the used car and it's really doing everybody a favor in getting those recalls fixed." 
 
Manufacturers will fix recalls at no cost to the consumer, so you don't have to worry about going out of pocket to repair your car. The lesson here is definitely check before you buy.
 
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