Buyer beware: The dealer doesn’t have to tell you if your car is recalled

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If you are looking to buy a car, you may want to check its VIN number first.

2014 has been a record-breaking year for car recalls; one in seven cars on the road in the U.S. has an open or unfixed recall according to Carfax.

Zimmerman Honda in Moline has a handful of cars on their lot that have been recalled, according to general manager, R.C. Rogers. He said if it is a Honda, they usually know about the recall and warn the customer before they buy it.

If the customer is looking to buy a used car that's make by another manufacturer, his dealership may not know if it has been recalled, Rogers said.

"We don't have a list of recalls here at Zimmerman Honda for Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan and the other makes; just as the other dealers wouldn't have a list of the recalls Honda has," said Rogers.

"We try and make [the customer] aware of when the parts are going to be available, what to do when they are available, and then [the customer] is taken care of," Rogers said.

However, area dealerships we spoke to said they are not legally required to tell the customer if they are purchasing a recalled car. That means, you could unknowingly buy a car that has been recalled.

Fortunately, there are resources people can use to check to see if their vehicle has been recalled.

Both and have free, online databases that let you use the make, model or vehicle identification number to see if a car has been recalled.  Some databases can also help you search using the license plate number.

Check the Carfax list for recalls by make and model - click here.

Check recalls listed on - click here.

Carfax also has a free mobile app that can scan the VIN or plate number and check for recalls.

You can also call your local dealership to ask if your car has been recalled, Rogers said.

"Just make yourself aware of the situation that your particular vehicle has," said Rogers.

To check online for possible recalls related to your GM vehicle, click here.

To check online for possible recalls related to your GMC vehicle, click here.


1 Comment

  • Bryan

    They don’t have to volunteer, but if you ask, they have to tell you. Just buy from a reputable/ honest dealership.

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