When you buy a new car, you do so with the expectation that it will be in mint condition, have little if any miles on it, have that trademark new car smell. Most importantly, you also expect that your new car be free from any defects. With the more than 15 million new cars sold across the United States, it is hard to fathom that your new car can be subject to a recall, even before you drive it off the lot.
Nevertheless, cars subject to recalls are sold more often than you might think. In fact, a search of the NHTSA’s recall information website (NHTSA.gov/recalls), can lead concerned car buyers to information about whether their car is subject to a recall.
While it might seem fraudulent if a salesperson doesn’t disclose that your new car is being recalled, the law does not require them to disclose such information. However, dealers that sell cars subject to recalls are legally obligated to honor all required repairs in the event of a recall. This distinction is critically important if the hazard that is the subject of recall is dangerous enough to cause significant injuries. If the repairs are not honored or completed, the dealer (along with the automaker) could be held liable.
So while it may not dawn on you while you are looking for new cars that it may be recalled, it may be helpful to some homework before you make a purchase. If you have questions about your legal rights after buying a new car that is subject to a recall, an experienced attorney can advise you.