The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that on outstanding recalls, about 30 percent of owners do not take their car to a dealer for the recommended fix. And Carfax, which sells reports tracing the history of used cars, says its database with information from manufacturers shows that of used cars for sale online last year, about 3.5 million had defects subject to a recall but had not had the repair done.
To look for open recalls on a car you are considering, go to this Carfax site for a free check. Click on the brand of car involved and then enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). If there is a recalled defect that has not been fixed, the site will give you a brief description