AutoNation is America’s largest car retailer–and it seems they’re selling used vehicles with unrepaired, recalled defects. In fact, a recent report issued by the US PIRG Education Fund and the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation estimates that one in every nine used vehicles sold by AutoNation has unrepaired defects.
The report was based on a survey of 2,429 vehicles. It involved 28 different AutoNation dealerships across 12 states and was conducted in July and August 2019. Researchers found that 285 of the 2,429 vehicles had safety recalls that had not been repaired prior to the sale. Defects ranged from faulty ignition switches to airbag safety issues.
AutoNation has more than 320 dealerships in southern and western states and sells hundreds of thousands of used vehicles each year.
Is That Legal?
Although federal regulations prohibit dealers from selling new vehicles with unrepaired recalls, there is no law preventing them from selling used cars prior to making recall repairs. Lawmakers including Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) have re-introduced the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act in hopes that the loophole endangering consumers will be closed.
The bill is in the process of being reviewed by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Senators were unsuccessful when they tried to push for similar legislation in 2015 after receiving pushback from auto dealers.
Recalls can happen across multiple vehicle brands and models at any given time. For example, the 2015 Takata airbag recalls affected 19 automakers and millions of airbags across models spanning from the years 2001 to 2015. The airbags injured more than 200 people and have killed 24. The General Motors ignition switch problem caused 124 deaths.
Regardless of where you buy a used vehicle, you should immediately check to find out if recall repairs have been completed. If they haven’t, schedule an appointment to have the defect repaired as soon as possible.
You can check any vehicle online by entering the vehicle identification number at SafeCar.gov. You can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA) at 888-327-4236 to check recalls for your vehicle or to report suspected safety defects.