(WPRI) -- You fall in love with that sleek, shiny used car. You like the price, and you're all set to drive it home. Unfortunately, that car might be hiding a dangerous hazard, one that the dealer was not required to tell you about.
A charred and burnt shell of a car is all that remains of the used van bought by Bob Knotts. The vehicle burst into flames while parked right in his driveway.
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It turns out that the van was one of 98,000 recalled because of a wiring defect that could potentially cause a fire. Knotts said the used car dealer he bought it from never told him that it wasn't repaired.
"The whole thing was a complete loss for me," he said.
Could the used car you bought have a dangerous defect? A recent study by CarFax found that more than 2.7 million used vehicles listed for sale online last year had at least one unfixed safety recall.
"They're all serious. They could cost you your life. They could cause a crash," said Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety.
Call 12 for Action had to make only one check of used car lots to find vehicles for sale that according to car manufacturer websites have unfixed recalls. We found one SUV with an un-repaired defect that could make the engine stall and cause an accident. Another car had an engine that could shut off while the it's being driven.
"They don't want to take them off their lot to get them fixed before they sell them because that customer is ready to buy it today, and may in fact go to another used car dealer and buy a different vehicle," added Ditlow.
There isn't a federal law requiring used car dealers or private sellers to tell buyers about unfixed recalls. Knotts tells us he now wants to warn others since nobody is required to warn you, so be sure to check for open recalls yourself.
The Used Car Dealer Association says the onus is on vehicle owners and used car buyers to get recalls fixed. If you have your car's vehicle identification number (VIN), you can simply call your local dealer to see if you have any unfixed recalls.
For a free recall check of a used car, visit the CarFax website.
Copyright WPRI 12
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