Checking for Recalls when Buying a Used Car

Because borrowers with damaged credit more often than not choose a used car they should be aware that there is more than one way to check if the vehicle they are considering has any open recalls
Checking for Recalls when Buying a Used Car
What we know

It’s a fact that most car buyers with poor credit that qualify for an auto loan will end up financing a used car because they’re typically more affordable. But among the things they should be looking for while checking one out is if it has one or more open recalls.

Here at Auto Credit Express we understand why this issue is often overlooked because for over two decades we’ve been helping consumers with bad credit searching for online car loans find those dealers who can offer them their best shot at car loan approvals.


So while these high-risk lenders won’t finance vehicles with branded titles (including stolen, salvaged or cars with extensive water damage), the fact is these types of branded titles aren’t issued to cars with open recalls.

No less a source than Carfax notes that used car buyers are “at considerable risk due to auto recalls being ignored.” Research that the company completed earlier this year showed that the number of cars being offered for sale online that have open recalls (a recall that hasn’t been fixed) increased, on average, more than 25 percent in the states of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

And while these same statistics show that some improvement has been made over the 2.7 million vehicles with open recalls sold online in 2011, nearly 2.1 million were for sale online in 2012. Carfax also noted that “Addressing open recalls is vital to a car’s safety, performance and resale value.”

“Consumers seem to be more aware of this threat, but there’s still a long way to go,” said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. “Before a car changes hands, there’s lots of opportunities for everyone involved to check for open recalls. Yet this data is proof that it’s not happening enough. A simple online check and visit with your local dealer is all it takes to help improve public safety.”

What buyers can do

Unlike the damage inflicted by water, getting an open recall taken care of should be relatively painless while finding out if the used car you’re considering has any open recalls is even easier.

In fact, Carfax offers a free service that allows consumers to check for open recalls simply by going online to In addition, VIN-specific open recall information reported to Carfax by the auto manufacturers is also included on all Carfax Vehicle History Reports.

Car buyers wishing even more detailed information about a specific recall campaign can also visit this government website:

As we see it

Consumers, especially those with questionable credit, should be particularly careful when picking out a used car. While used cars with hidden damage, sold by legitimate dealers, must have this information disclosed to the buyer and may even have a branded title, this isn’t the case for vehicles with open recalls.

To make sure the vehicle you’re looking at doesn’t have this issue, check the Carfax report or the specific Carfax web site as well as the government website – just to be sure.

Another tip: Auto Credit Express matches consumers that have experienced car credit issues with dealers that can offer them their best chances for approved car loans.

So if you’re ready to establish your auto credit, you can begin now by filling out our online car loan application.

Posted on September 10, 2013 by in Used Cars
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