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Special Report: Danger on the lot

The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association says it encourages used vehicle dealers to repair the open recall before selling it to a customer and at a minimum, disclose it.
LITTLE ROCK, AR-- Bob Knotts bought a van recently, that eventually caught fire.

"It was just black full of smoke," said Knotts.

The van burst into flames while parked in his driveway. He later found out his van was one of 98,000 recalled because of a wiring defect. The used car dealer Bob bought it from never told him about the unfixed recall.

"The whole thing was a complete loss for me," said Knotts.

A recent study by Carfax found more than 2.7 million used vehicles listed for sale online last year, had at least one unfixed safety recall.

The federal government doesn't recall cars, unless a defect could cause a serious risk to passengers or drivers.

"They're all serious. They could cost you your life. They could cause a crash," said Center for Auto Safety spokesperson Clarence Ditlow.

There's no federal law requiring used car dealers, or private sellers, to tell buyers about unfixed recalls.

The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association says it encourages used vehicle dealers to repair the open recall before selling it to a customer and at a minimum ,disclose it.

Experts say some dealers do go the extra mile.

"Many dealers will bring a used car up to speed on its recalls before they sell it and actually if they do, it's a sign they take really good care of their cars and really good care of their customers," said Edmunds spokesperson Jeannine Fallon.

Bob says he now wants to warn others to check for recalls.

"What happened to me, it could have happened to someone else," said Knotts.

If you have your car's vehicle identification number, or VIN, you can simply pick up the phone and call your local dealer to see if you have any unfixed recalls.
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