New Law Would Ban Selling Used Cars With Open Recalls

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A dealer cannot sell a new car if it has an unrepaired safety recall, but currently, that rule does not apply to used cars.
If a dealer is selling a car under recall that hasn’t been repaired, they don’t have to disclose that information, according to ABC15 Arizona. Now, legislation called the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act has been reintroduced to change this.
A car key being handed to someone with a car in the background
A dealer cannot sell a new car that’s under recall and hasn’t been fixed

What is the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act?

The Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act would require car dealers to repair issues related to recalls in used cars before selling, leasing, or loaning them. An early version of the bill was first introduced in 2015. The bill was extended to rental cars in 2016, and still only applied to open safety recalls.
It seems that through the years, the bill never made it far. But this past May, it was reintroduced once again. The bill was proposed by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Edward J. Markey, and Elizabeth Warren. The Senators said the bill would help keep dangerous cars off the road.
The legislation would also establish a new reimbursement program. According to a press release from Sen. Blumenthal, auto manufacturers will be accountable for providing dealers with the parts to repair safety defects within 60 days.

Benefits and drawbacks of the new bill

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) is against the bill and claims that similar laws were not effective. On the NADA website, it says that “because vehicles could not be re-sold by dealerships under these bills, affected vehicles would incur significant holding and depreciation costs and be dramatically devalued.”
The NADA also argues that not all recalls are equal, so a one-size-fits-all approach to address them wouldn’t work. The Association pointed out that for most recalls, the government and manufacturers determine that most affected vehicles are safe to drive while awaiting repairs.
But some say that bills like the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act would protect consumers. ABC15 Arizona reported that the nonprofit organization Consumers’ Checkbook looked at 600 vehicles for sale and found that 227 had at least one unaddressed problem subject to a recall— most of them for a serious issue.
The organization also found that 1 in 6 cars on the road has an unrepaired and potentially dangerous safety recall.

Check for recalls on your own

If you’re concerned about potential safety recalls when buying a used car, the good news is you can check for them yourself. This way you’ll be able to make an informed purchase whether the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act goes through or not.
Before you buy a vehicle, you can use the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to check for any outstanding recalls through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) website. The VIN search tool will show you any recalls that impact your vehicle in the past 15 years.
It might also be a good idea to check with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to make sure the used car you want to buy is not a stolen vehicle.

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