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Millions of used cars have unresolved recall issues

Friday - 4/4/2014, 12:41pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- General Motors' high-profile ignition switch problem is not the only recall about which drivers need to worry. Millions of cars with safety issues are on the road, and even up for sale.

"This is an alarming issue," says Christopher Basso, spokesman for CARFAX.

The vehicle history company says last year, 3.5 million used cars with unresolved recall issues were posted for sale online.

"With everything that we've seen in the last few weeks… we expect that number could even spike this year."

Basso says about 30 percent of recalled cars don't get fixed.

"Unfortunately, recalls aren't something a lot of consumers are looking for when they're shopping for a used car. We also see people choosing to ignore recalls," Basso says.

Ray LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation under President Barack Obama, tells WTOP tough rules governing recalls have failed to address this area.

"A car should not be resold until it's fixed - until the mechanical defect is corrected," LaHood says.

In the wake of GM's recall for faulty ignition switches, LaHood expects lawmakers to take up the issue of recalled-but-unrepaired vehicles changing hands.

"I have no doubt members of Congress, whatever package of reforms that they come forward with, this will have to be a part of it," LaHood says.

Drivers and car shoppers can find free information about recalls for specific vehicles through CARFAX and safercar.org, among other sites.

Owners also can check with dealerships to see whether any recalls exist.

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