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On Your Side: The danger of ignoring vehicle recalls

On Your Side: The danger of ignoring vehicle recalls
On Your Side: The danger of ignoring vehicle recalls 03:18

More than 2.5 million cars that have potentially deadly recalls are still on the road across the United States. And California has the highest concentration of these dangerous vehicles, according to a new report out by CARFAX.

California has close to a quarter of a million vehicles currently on our roads that have not had their "Do Not Drive" or "Park Outside" recall repairs done -- despite those recalls being free and at no cost to the car's owner.

"Do Not Drive" means the automaker is telling you to park the car and they will come pick it up and complete the recall repair. It's that serious.

"Park Outside" means there is a serious fire risk, so the owner is being told to not use their garage and park as far away from a structure as they can until the repair can be made.

There are more than 200 separate models from a wide range of automakers that have active "Do Not Drive" or "Park Outside" safety recalls.

In Los Angeles, of the 245,000 vehicles in California that have been tagged as "Do Not Drive" and "Park Outside" and have not been repaired, more than 100,000 are being driven here locally in the L.A. metro area.

So what does that mean? People are ignoring the recall notices, they don't know about them?

"The only way that the government and the automaker can send you the recall is through first-class mail. And as you know, that is not the primary means of communication for most adults these days," said CARFAX Editor-in-Chief Peter Olsen. "Secondly, I think there's a lot of consumers who see things in the mail and they think it's a marketing scam. It's some kind of extended warranty scam and they overlook it.

"And then I think there's also a significant percentage of people for whom, and particularly in Southern California, for whom their car is their livelihood," said Olsen. "And the idea of giving it up even for a few hours, even for getting some work done that will be free, it's a difficult choice for them."

There is currently no law that says a private seller or even a dealer cannot sell a car with one of these serious recalls. So you definitely want to check the CARFAX report, which will list any unrepaired recalls.

And remember, even if you're out of warranty, all recalls are free.

Just last week, both BMW and Jeep put out "Do Not Drive" and a "Park Outside" recalls. So the list keeps on growing.

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