(WMC TV) - According to the vehicle history tracker Carfax (www.carfax.com), nearly three million vehicles with open recalls were sold in the United States in 2011.
Over 50,000 of those were sold in Tennessee.
"Many of the people who bought those vehicles have no idea that there could be a safety issue that is affecting the performance of their vehicle," said Larry Gamache, Carfax's communications director.
There's no excuse anymore for consumers, private sellers or dealers not knowing about a vehicle's open recall.
Carfax, in conjunction with auto manufacturers, has launched a free service at http://recall.carfax.com/. Consumers and dealers can run a vehicle's 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) through the site to search manufacturers' databases for open recalls.
"Drivers can check their cars for free to find out whether or not their car has been issued a recall, and most will be fixed for free," said Gamache.
Other web resources for searching a used vehicle's history:
* THE MANUFACTURER'S RECALL DATABASE (Ford, Toyota, etc.). Each of the auto manufacturers' web sites allows buyers to check a VIN # against open recalls. Just Google the manufacturer's site and follow its site map to its recall database.
* THE INTERNET AUTO GUIDE: http://www.internetautoguide.com/index.html. This guide provides a very simple, drill-down method that will lead you to the actual recall campaign's letter. It includes the description of the potential safety threat of the vehicle.
* NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: www.safercar.gov. This is the federal government's database of auto safety recalls.
If you discover the vehicle has an open recall, alert the dealer or seller. If the dealer or seller tells you the recall repair has been done, ask to see the repair invoice or another document that proves the work has been completed.