Study finds major loopholes in recall laws

June 16, 2011 12:00 AM

A new study has revealed that many cars miss out on necessary recall repairs, because the used car market typically isn't included in automaker notices for recalled vehicles, the Associated Press reports.

When an automaker recalls a model, they are required to send a notice to all owners that the company has on record. Yet if a car has been bought or sold several times, or has ended up in the hands of a dealer, it's unlikely that the automaker will be able to track that model down, according to a new study from the Government Accountability Office.

For this reason, many used cars that are sitting on dealer lots are in need of recall repairs. Since the automaker provides these repairs for free, there's really no reason not to get them - but if the dealer doesn't know about a recall, it's likely that a car hasn't had the necessary repairs.

In addition, there is no law mandating that dealers tell potential buyers about recall info, even if they were aware of the car's status. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has authority when it comes to the automakers, this doesn't apply to the dealer level.

The study goes on to estimate that only 60 to 65 percent of cars get the necessary repairs, but cautioned that this varies by automaker - some are as high as 90 percent, while others are as low as 23 percent.

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