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Used Cars Might Have Safety Issues You Don't Know About

DENVER (CBS4) There are millions of cars that are recalled each year. A 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigation looked at cars for sale on Craigslist and found thousands with open recalls. Jodi Brooks found that no one is intentionally ignoring recalls, people just don't know about them. So if you are buying or selling a car, a check of the safety record starts with the VIN number.

"Do you know that your car actually has an open recall on it?" Brooks asked one car seller.

"No, I don't," the seller responded.

Brooks talked to dozens of people who were selling cars and found none of them knew about open recalls on their cars. There's new research from CARFAX, a company that compiles vehicle histories, that says 2.1 million cars with open recalls were for sale online nationwide last year. More than 31,000 of those cars were in Colorado.

"There's estimates that one out of every 3 recalled cars don't get fixed, " said Christopher Basso, Public Relations Manager for CARFAX.

Cars for sale on Craigslist with open recalls were parked on driveways and dealer lots. These were open safety recalls where airbags can deploy without notice. CBS4 took hidden cameras to dealerships and talked to sales guys about cars with open recalls. None of the sales guys knew about the recalls.

"If there's any open recalls that they've announced on the vehicle, the dealer would know," one salesman told CBS4.

The open recalls for some cars were not showing up on the CARFAX and what even some sales people didn't know was that 3 manufacturers don't put their recall information on CARFAX, they are Toyota, Audi, and Volkswagon. To check for open recalls on these makes, you need to go to the manufacturer website and enter in the VIN number.

"There are a few manufacturers that don't report information to CARFAX, but we're working with all of them to add their open recall information to the CARFAX database," Basso told CBS4.

"As soon as we get a car we always tell the customer now, 'Make sure you call the manufacturer and make sure there aren't any recalls'," said George Simelnov, owner of Primera Auto Owner.

Dealerships that CBS4 talked to for this Consumer Investigation said they're making sure people know where to find recall information, because this is important information is for the consumer.

"I'm going to take it to the dealer and have them do what they need to do because I don't want to sell an unsafe vehicle," said one used car seller.

You can check your vehicle for an open recall by doing a Free CARFAX Recall Check or by going to the manufacturer website and entering the VIN number in the recall section.

RELATED: More Reports By 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks

- Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith


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