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Does your car have an open recall on it? How to check

It's free to check your car and the car you're thinking about buying. Pro tip: Used cars are allowed to be sold with open recalls on them!

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Over the past few months, you may have put off everything from home repairs to doctor’s appointments. Maybe an important safety recall for your car slipped through the cracks. As Consumer Reports explains, now is the time to safely and promptly get the free fixes your recalled car needs.

How do you know if your car has been recalled in the first place? Car companies are required to notify owners by mail, but sometimes they don’t reach the second or third owner. So check the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for open recalls on your car.

Tens of millions of cars are recalled every year to correct flaws including software glitches, headlight problems and leaks that can cause fires.

Every recall is important and should be taken seriously. If the safety defect is serious enough, you may be advised not to drive the car until it’s fixed.

The good news is that in almost every case, recall repairs are free. But it’s your responsibility to get them done.

Also, keep in mind that you’re not entitled to a rental car or a loaner while your car is being repaired. 

Sometimes a dealership or an automaker will offer one as a courtesy, though it’s not required by law.

USED CARS & OPEN RECALLS

Another important thing to note is that legally, cars can be sold even if they have an open recall. So, if you’re buying a used car, it’s especially important to run the vehicle identification number (VIN) through a recall database to be aware of any recalls that need your attention.

If you’re worried about missing a recall, you can sign up for Consumer Reports’ free car recall tracker to receive an email notification when one is issued for your vehicle.