Estimated 780,000 cars with unfixed safety recalls for sale or on the road in Tampa Bay area

Cars sold with dangerous defects and no notice

A father of three, Anthony Burgess drowned after pulling his 3-year-old daughter out of a car that rolled into an Indiana pond.

ABC Action News ran the VIN number on the Pontiac G6 involved and found an unfixed recall for a defect that could cause it to roll away even if the shifter is in park.

Carfax estimates 780,000 vehicles ride Tampa Bay's roads with unfixed recalls.

Many of them equally as dangerous as the defect that may be tied to Burgess’s death.

Related: Father of 3, Anthony Burgess dies after rescuing child from vehicle after it plunges into pond in Indianapolis

Locally, Al Holm says the power steering of his vehicle went out causing a near crash. It happened weeks after he bought the used Mercury Marquis from a Brooksville lot.

The dealer never notified Holm of the steering-related recall. Why? Because lots do not have to give notice of dangerous defects.

ABC Action News found unfixed recalls on dozens of cars on lots across the Tampa Bay region. One of them — a 2013 Ram — went under a recall last year for the occupant restraint control module. It controls both your seatbelt and the airbag deployment. And an F150 sat on the lot with a possible door defect. The recall meant that the door could fly open while the car is in motion.

But even when the car lot posts a third party history report — it is buyers beware.

We found missing recall information on multiple reports provided by Experian's Auto Check. Take for instance two vehicles we ran: A 2008 GMC Sierra and a 2008 Scion. We found airbag-related recalls on both vehicles but the AutoCheck history report indicates there are no recalled parts.

AutoCheck missed government recalls on five different cars on two lots. Take the Gallant for example. The unfixed issues include a catalytic converter and shift interlock issue. That could allow the car to be shifted out of park without the key being in the ignition.

In an email, Experian answered our questions about the missing information we found in some of their AutoCheck reports.

“While no single source of vehicle history information is likely to be fully comprehensive, Experian is committed to providing as much information as possible in our AutoCheck Vehicle History Reports. We are constantly working to enhance and expand our open recall data sources. We also recommend that car shoppers visit the manufacturer’s or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s websites to double check for any safety or recall notices that have been issued on the vehicle.”

The most reliable resource for researching recalls is the manufacturers' website and the government’s database: www.safercar.gov.

Just plug in your VIN and www.carfax.com/recall also offers free recall checks. The site says it works directly with manufacturers to obtain the latest recall information.

Drivers of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram Truck vehicles can visit www.recalls.mopar.com to check for recalls and schedule an appointment with an authorized dealer.

Drivers of any vehicle can check their vehicles for open Takata airbag recalls on www.CheckToProtect.org.

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