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What you need to know to protect yourself before buying a car

Some VIN searches aren't always accurate
Posted at 6:23 PM, Mar 14, 2019

Buying a car can be stressful and you want to make sure you cover all you bases, but some VIN searches aren't always up-to-date. You could end up buying a vehicle under a recall, and have no idea.

Easa Ayyoub spent months searching for the almost new 2019 Dodge Ram Rebel. He wants what happened to him to serve as a reminder to thoers.

The dealership he went provided a VIN check on the vehicle. It showed no open recalls.

“I wanted to make sure it was a safe vehicle,” Ayyoub said.

Ayyoub says he would never have bought a truck with a safety recall. But, just days after leaving with his new truck he learned it was under a recall.

The defect related to a power steering issue, which could cause a crash.

Dodge issued the recall in January, just days before Ayyoub bought the truck.

The dealership ran the recall search through Experian's auto check and the government's website,, but no recalls showed up.

We reached out to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration which runs and Experian to ask how long it takes for recalls to appear in their databases.

The feds told us their search does not cover "very recently announced recalls for which not all VINs have been identified."

Experian has yet to respond.

As for the popular vehicle history reporting service, CARFAX, the company told us in an email, "The manufacturers send us a daily feed of their open recalls."

The best way to find out about recalls is on the manufacturer’s website and just plug in your VIN.