There’s hidden dangers on our roads, often lurking right under the hood.
According to data collected by Carfax, an estimated 1.7 million vehicles are on Virginia roads with unfixed safety recalls.
“It’s about one out of every four vehicles in the state,” said Chris Basso, who works for Carfax.
With a staggering 34 percent increase in the number of unfixed recalls nationwide since last year, finding faulty vehicles is disturbingly easy.
“There are three open recalls on that Mitsubishi right there,” said Basso.
He took NBC12 through a parking lot on the Midlothian Turnpike. We used the MyCarFax app to check out vehicles.
“I've got another one! Three recalls on that accord right there!” said Basso.
We found open recall after open recall.
“One open recall! On that Prius,” said Basso. “This one is also for an airbag.”
We found them all in a matter of 10 minutes.
“That Honda has a recall on it. It has a Takata airbag inside that's been recalled,” said Basso. “Those could explode if that car's in accident. That's something I would recommend getting done immediately, because of the serious safety consequences.”
Not all drivers know about unfixed recalls in their vehicles, which is why the industry is working to improve gaps in the notification system when owners move or a car is resold.
“These are safety recalls. They impact the safety and performance of your vehicle,” said Basso. “They are meant to keep you safe. These recalls - if they're not fixed - can cause crashes, fires, exploding airbags - real safety issues.”
Even if your vehicle doesn’t have a recall, you could be riding next to one that does.
“We've got another one. We found a stop lamp switch replacement. That means the brake lights could stop working,” said Basso.
To check for unfixed recalls on your own vehicle, you need the VIN number. That number is often found on the front of your car near the hood and windshield on the driver side. On some vehicles, it’s even on the side of the driver door.
Plug that number into the free MyCarFax app or use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website.
A local dealer for your brand of vehicle will fix it for free - you just have to take the time to schedule an appointment.
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