Check Your Car VIN For Hidden Repair Notices

Carfax Website Allows Drivers To Check Their Vehicles For Open Recalls

Drivers may be getting behind the wheel of a vehicle with a needed repair about which they've never been notified.

Vehicle manufacturers periodically issue recalls. 7NEWS found vehicles being sold at car dealerships that had open recalls, meaning repairs that hadn't been completed yet. 7NEWS also found many drivers who had no idea if their car had a recall or not.

Drivers can use this Free VIN Recall Check to see if their car has an open recall and what it is.

"Do you think you have an open recall on your car and don't know about it?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"I don't think so, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did," said driver Andrew Middleton.

"You never check on your own just to be sure?" asked Zelinger.

"Rarely. My dad didn't teach me well," said driver Meaghan Kelly.

7NEWS Helps Drivers Find Out If Their Car Has Open Recall

7NEWS checked the database using vehicle identification numbers from drivers in a Denver parking lot.

For many drivers, we found no open recalls listed.

"Ha," said Kelly.

"Perfect," said driver Trish Guerrero.

Then 7NEWS checked the VIN for Nicolette Cordova's 2006 Ford Freestyle.

"Open Recall Found. Door latch freezing," said Zelinger. "Did you know you had this recall?

"No. I haven't gotten anything from a dealer," said Cordova.

For drivers who aren't the first owner of their vehicle, the manufacturer may not have updated contact information to send the recall notice to the correct owner.

The recall check through CARFAX is free. The company charges, however, for a complete CARFAX record. Not all manufacturers report their recalls to CARFAX. Toyota, BMW and Volkswagen are just three examples of manufacturers that need to be contacted directly for recall information.

Drivers can also use this link with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to see all recalls on any vehicle.

Some Used Cars At Dealerships Being Sold With Open Recalls

7NEWS also found car dealerships in the Denver metro area selling vehicles with open recalls.

"Is that something that you check before I were to leave the lot with that vehicle?" asked Zelinger to a salesmen.

"We do do our best to get all recalls done before they leave the lot," he said.

There is no law that forces dealers or private sellers to repair any recalls on used cars before selling them to someone else.

"There's nothing that requires us to do it, but it's something we do our best to do," said the salesman.

Vehicle manufacturers don't alert drivers to technical service bulletins. They're issued by a manufacturer once it receives a large number of complaints about the same problem. Even worse, the driver has to pay for the repair unless the car is under warranty.

  • Does your car have any "hidden" recalls called technical service bulletins?
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