Cars in California and throughout the country that are defective may be recalled so that the issue can be fixed. However, dealerships are generally allowed to sell used vehicles under recall before the problem is resolved. Safety advocates say that this unnecessarily puts used car buyers at risk of being hurt or killed. Dealers say that forcing them to fix vehicles before they are sold could have negative consequences for trade-in values.
The National Independent Auto Dealers Association says that parts shortages could result in a car staying on a lot for years until a defect can be repaired. In some cases, consumers don't even know that their preferred vehicle is the subject of a recall. One man bought a pickup truck that was recalled for its potential to burst into flames even if it was parked and not running. The truck did eventually catch on fire while it was parked in his driveway.
According to a representative from Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), consumers should run the VIN number of a vehicle before purchasing it. Doing so may make it possible to determine if a vehicle is under recall or if there are other issues that haven't been disclosed. If a car is under recall, a manufacturer will typically be liable for fixing the problem for free.
Individuals who are harmed because of product defects may be entitled to various forms of compensation. This may include a refund of any money spent buying or attempting to repair faulty brakes or other problems a car might have. Vehicle owners might also be entitled to a financial award for medical bills and punitive damages related to injuries caused by a defective vehicle. An attorney may help an individual with his or her case.