You can see just about any type of car driving down the street – from the ultra-luxury to economy. But what might not be as easy to see could pose a real danger to your family.
"It’s very likely that one out of every four cars that we check here today is gonna have at least one unfixed safety recall on it," said Christopher Basso of CarFax. “It’s one of the highest rates of recall in the country."
Florida has some of the highest number of recalled vehicles in the country.
NBC 6 Responds teamed up with CarFax to randomly check vehicles for recalls at three different locations in South Florida.
Using the free MyCarFax app, Basso plugged in the license plates of several vehicles to see if there were any unfixed recalls and it didn’t take long for us to find a problem.
A 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe had two open safety recalls involving issues with a speed sensor and the engine.
“They were just issued recently – January and beginning of April,” Basso told the driver, who told us the vehicle belonged to her sister.
“Wow, that’s interesting,” the woman said. “It’s nice to know, thank you, and I’ll definitely let her know.”
Another vehicle we checked – a 2005 Toyota Highlander – had three open recalls. One of those recalls dated back to 2010. The driver told us she never received a recall notice.
“I’m very surprised,” said Alicia Alba, the owner of the SUV. “It concerns me a lot because I didn’t know anything about it.”
It’s not unusual. Car companies rely on mail and often old addresses to send recall notices. Our experiment found what statistics show – about one out of every four vehicles we checked had an open recall and most of those owners had no idea of the potential danger.
“It has everything to do with their safety,” said Basso. “These are safety-related recalls that can cause injuries, crashes.”
Safercar.gov is another free option available if you want to check to see if your vehicle has an open recall. You will need to plug in your VIN number to do the check.
If you find that you have an open recall, call your dealer to set up an appointment to get it fixed. The fix is usually free. But if your recall is a nationwide one, like the Takata airbags, it could take much longer to get it fixed.
According to CarFax, family-oriented vehicles like minivans and SUVs have the highest rate of open recalls. The reason, they said, is because it may have something to do with the family lifestyle.