So you've bought a used vehicle, but have you ever checked to see if it has any recalls? If the answer is no, that could be trouble. The News On 6 reported Tuesday how a Tulsa man's Ford pickup truck burst into flames, possibly from a recalled part he didn't know about.
News On 6 reporter Steve Berg reports there is not much left of Skeeter Lott's truck after it caught on fire this past September. The Ford F150's have become notorious for a bad cruise control switch that has been liked to hundreds of fires. But Lott didn't know that. "Actually the firemen that came and put it out told me about the recall status, to see if there was a recall for that vehicle and there was." The recall letter went out in February of 2005 from Ford to whoever owned the truck before Lott.
Ford would have also provided a postcard to that previous owner to send in when he sold the truck, so Ford could warn future owners like Lott, but that apparently never happened.
So what about the dealership where Lott bought the truck? Dealers are required by law to perform recalls on any new vehicles. But you might be surprised to know that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they're not required to do the same with "used" vehicles. The bottom line is you might be on your own when it comes to checking recalls.
The good news is that it's not too difficult. You can look up the make and model of your car on the NHTSA website
. That will give you a list of all recalls. But you'll want to check your specific vehicle. For that, get the Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN. It's on a little metal plaque on your dashboard.
Most manufacturers like Ford have a website
where you can type it in and check for recalls. Even better, call a dealer. If you find out about the recall after the recall has already resulted in damage, getting somebody to fix things is a lot more difficult.