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Auto recall repair alert: How to protect your family

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ROYAL OAK, Mich. – From the GM ignition recall to the Takata air bag action, auto safety recalls have been in the news more than ever.

However, millions of drivers don't follow through on repairs offered by the dealers and the manufacturers.

There are various reasons why recalled vehicles don't get fixed. You might not get the notice, maybe you're waiting for the parts, or you just didn't have time to take the vehicle to the dealer.

"I guess I didn't take it as serious ... I've been so busy that's the No. 1 reason. I had a little girl in March," said Boris Bozinovski, of Sterling Heights.

Chris Basso of Carfax says not getting recalled vehicles fixed can be hazardous to you, your family, and others.

"If that part fails while the car is being driven, then other people on the road are at risk as well," he said. "Fixing open recalls is a public safety issue."

Drivers Beware

Carfax estimates there are more than 1.5 million cars under open recalls that have not been repaired. Ruth to the Rescue went to a public parking garage in Royal Oak and counted 30 vehicles. Ten of those parked cars were under recall and had not been repaired. Finding out which cars needed repairs was easy, thanks to an app from Carfax.

The company, known for tracking vehicle histories, recently introduced a new feature to the MyCarFax app.

"It's free. All you need to do is plug in your license plate once, then Carfax is going to monitor your car and tell you about any recalls on it -- now and in the future," said Basso.

He says Carfax works with manufacturers every day to keep the list updated. If a new recall is announced, Carfax can send an alert right to your smartphone or email.

He showed Local 4 Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer how the app worked as they walked through the garage. At one point, they stopped to look at a 2000 Grand Prix GT, typed in the license plate, and found that vehicle had an open recall.

"There is a risk of this vehicle catching on fire because of that recall," said Basso.

"Too bad the person who owns this car isn't coming here right now. We could tell him or her," said Spencer.

And, that was the goal of this "show and tell."

Working together, Spencer and Basso stopped a few drivers to see if their cars needed recall repairs.

Reminding Drivers About Recall Repairs

A few drivers were relieved to learn their cars didn't need any repairs, but our consumer team did discover some issues with other vehicles.

One woman was surprised to learn there was a recall from 2009 on her Ford Explorer. She got the car in 2012, and never knew the recall was still lingering, unrepaired.

"If this recall remains unfixed, there could be a fire in your truck," Basso told the driver.

Elena Bassin said she planned to download the app that very day -- she was worried about others in her family.

"I wonder what's out on my mom's car, like anyone else's. So, it makes me really nervous about what I didn't realize," she told Spencer.

Basso says the app can track up to five vehicles for each family.

Drivers we spoke with say the Carfax is something they'd like to try.

"It would definitely be useful because I've probably gotten a post card before it happened last year, and thought it was junk mail and just tossed it aside without looking at it," said Kim Dmitruk, of Royal Oak.

Research Your Vehicle

If you'd like to know more about the MyCarfax App, follow this link.

Or you can use the government website here.

You can arrange to have alerts sent to you on either site. Find out which one works best for you. Check your family's cars, and keep everyone safe!


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