Used car dealer CarMax to disclose open recalls on vehicles on sale

Richmond, VA – February 18, 2023 – A used-car dealer CarMax (NYSE: KMX) has agreed to disclose open recalls on cars that it sells in certain states.  The agreement follows on the heels of a multi-state investigation into allegations that the company failed to disclose that some of the cars on sale were subject to unrepaired recalls.

This is at least the second time the company settles such allegations. 

Buying a car with an open recall can put your life and that of your passengers and other motorists at risk.

The agreement

This CarMax settlement comes on the heels of an investigation that started in 2014 and was settled on December 5, 2022. That is when the company agreed to disclose open recalls in 36 states, including Alabama, Nevada, Wisconsin and Texas.

To ensure compliance, Carmax will have to implement several mechanisms when selling cars with open recalls.

First, all cars on sale will have to have a link or sticker with a QR code, which would lead to a site like that would have more specific information on the recall.

Secondly, before buying the vehicle, the customer would need to sign a waiver that would disclose that the vehicle is subject to a recall.  He or she will also be given a copy of the said recall. 

Third, CarMax cannot market their cars as “safe or repaired for ‘safety issues.'” 

As part of the agreement, the company has also agreed to pay $1 million that is going to be split between the states involved in the settlement.

Is it legal to sell cars with open recalls?

It is illegal for dealers and manufacturers to sell new cars with open recalls. However, “due to legal loopholes and loose regulations,” in some states used cars can be sold with open recalls

With the settlement, however, it becomes illegal for CarMax to do so in the 36 states that are subject to the agreement without proper disclosure.

What led to the investigation 

According to the investigation – that started in 2014 –  CarMax did not disclose that “repairs that were necessary on vehicles with open safety recalls, and it represented that those vehicles were safe despite open recalls for airbags, brakes, fuel pumps, and other critical parts and safety features. “

It is not clear how exactly the non-disclosure was accomplished but,  in a related settlement that was achieved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  in 2016, the used-car dealership claimed that all the cars were subject to a rigorous, 12-hour, 125-point inspection. However, some of these cars were subject to open recalls which CarMax did not adequately disclose. 

Does your vehicle have an open recall?

In some states it may be legal to sell used cars with open recalls.  One way to check if your car is one of them is to plug in your VIN into MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool. You can use the same tool to check for open settlements. For tips on how to find your VIN and other ways to discover if your car is in need of a repair, please see this article.

Bojan PopicUsed car dealer CarMax to disclose open recalls on vehicles on sale

Own or buying a used car? Three things you must do to check for recalls

Pleasanton, CA – June 16,  2021 – When recalls affect brand new cars, car manufacturers are required to have the vehicles repaired before selling them to customers. Efforts must also be made to contact owners after cars leave dealers’ lots.

However, due to legal loopholes and loose regulations, in some states used car dealers can sell cars without fixing recalls first, and used car owners might not be informed when their car has been recalled.

Here are a few things you can do to learn about any safety defects your used car has to protect your health and well-being  and that of your loved ones.

1. When you are buying, search for open recalls using the car’s VIN

Use a tool like’s recall lookup and plug in your vehicle identification number (VIN)  to find out if your car has any recalls that need fixing.

To find your VIN, check out this resource.

2. Update your registration

Auto manufacturers use the contact information listed in vehicle registrations at the DMV to track down the current owners of a vehicle under recall. Make sure the address listed on your vehicle’s registration is current so that recall notices will be mailed to your address.

3. Register directly with the manufacturer

Many manufacturers have an “owners” page on their website that allows owners to register their vehicle with them even if they bought it used. (For example, this is Toyota’s page.) They can use your registration information to contact you if your car is ever recalled.

Over 54 million vehicles were recalled in the U.S. last year and more recalls are issued every week. Check your car for unrepaired recalls using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Rebecca RandOwn or buying a used car? Three things you must do to check for recalls

GM Recalls Vehicles with Defective Seat Belts

Warren, Mich. – April 30, 2018 – General Motors has recalled more than 8,700 vehicles potentially equipped with defective seat belt assemblies, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The campaign affects 2018 Buick Regal sedans produced between June 9, 2017, and February 22, 2018. GM suspects that 1 percent of the recalled models actually contain the defective parts.

The defect

Affected vehicles contain rear outboard seats with improperly routed seat belts. Consequently, these safety features may not adequately restrain occupants in the event of an accident, leaving them open to injury.

However, the automaker has yet to receive reports connecting the defective components to any accidents or injuries.

Timeline of events

On January 16, 2018, engineers at the Opel Russelsheim assembly plant in Russelsheim, Germany discovered a 2018 Buick Regal sedan with improperly routed seat belts while conducting post-production testing.

The personnel who identified the defect notified their superiors January 22, 2018, through the Speak Up for Safety program. The GM Safety and Compliance Categorization Team reviewed the matter February 15, 2018, and launched a field monitoring initiative.

Seven days later, GM implemented new production methods at the Opel Russelsheim facility to ensure assembly teams properly routed rear seat belts.

GM engineers at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan uncovered another vehicle with the rear seat belt routing issue March 1, 2018. They too filed a SUFS report.

One week later, GM connected with technical stakeholders for Opel, one of its European subsidiaries, and discussed the misrouted seat belts it engineers had found in multiple 2018 Buick Regal sedans.

Opel dealt with the same problem earlier in the year and had issued a voluntary recall to address it. This meeting prompted GM to initiate an internal investigation, which led the GM Safety Field Action Decision Authority to call for an official recall on April 5, 2018.

GM notified dealers of the forthcoming action April 12, 2018.

The solution

The automaker has directed dealers to correct the routing of the outboard rear seat belt assemblies installed in affected vehicles free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgement document. GM intends to notify owners June 5, 2018.

Check your car’s recall status using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

Sean ReyesGM Recalls Vehicles with Defective Seat Belts

GM Recalls Buick Sedan Due to Power Steering Defect

Warren, Mich. – Mar. 24, 2017 – General Motors Co. has recalled more than 2,000 Buick sedans due to a serious power steering defect. The recall impacts LaCrosse models produced between August and November 2016, according to documentation filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The Defect

Affected vehicles include electric power steering connector cables that may not be properly sealed. These unprotected features are vulnerable to corrosion and could fail due to extreme oxidization or the development of high resistance, which can cause melting. This poses a serious risk to drivers, as the sudden loss of power steering can hinder vehicle operation and lead to crashes. No accidents or injuries have been attributed to the defect.

Timeline of Events

GM engineering personnel performed two separate wire-harness assessments at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly factory on Oct. 8 and Nov. 1, 2016, according to the NHTSA. The evaluations targeted Buick LaCrosse models produced at the facility. The vehicles were found to contain unsealed EPS connectors. GM immediately modified its production workflows to address the mistake. Two day later, one vehicle systems engineer at the plant submitted a report detailing the issue. The automaker immediately launched a formal investigation into the defect Dec. 10, 2016.

Inspectors reviewed the faulty connectors and discovered that the OEM parts provider, Delphi Automotive Systems, had provided cables with badly crimped seals. GM personnel were able to remove the connectors without using tools or extreme force. The Safety Field Action Decision Authority division reviewed the results and called for an official recall Feb. 16.

The Solution

GM has ordered dealers to replace faulty EPS connector seals, free of charge. However, the automaker has yet to release an owner notification period, according to NHTSA records. Affected owners are encouraged to contact Buick customer service should they need more immediate help.

MotorSafety.orgGM Recalls Buick Sedan Due to Power Steering Defect

Some Buick Regals Subject to Power Steering Recall

Warren, MI — March 23, 2016 — One of the most recent GM recalls in February concerns steering assembly faults in the 2016 Buick Regal.

Although the first signs of this failure were discovered in another car during vehicle tests last November, the recall only began on February 12, with dealers notified a week later.

According to a report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the affected vehicles may have been manufactured as recently as the date the recall started.

The defect

This report noted that bad circuit boards in these vehicles could lead to power steering failure, which could put additional steering pressure on the driver.

The defect was only thought to be in 74 units, signaled by a noticeable malfunction alert when present. The replacement circuit boards include stronger circuit boards.

Timeline of events

The NHTSA also featured a recall bulletin released this month, which explained that the recall parts needed would start shipping on the week of March 14. The bulletin lists 12 parts, including steering knuckle nuts, knuckle bolts and gear nuts.

“Some of these vehicles have a condition in which the power-steering assist system can fail while driving,” the bulletin stated. “If this occurs, the vehicle will lose power-steering assist.”

It also added that “Steering control can still be maintained, but will require increased steering effort, particularly at lower speeds, which could increase the risk of a crash.”

Automotive News grouped this recall in with several other GM recalls issued around the same time. These include actions for other vehicles with the 2016 model year, including Chevrolet Malibu, Colorado and Camaro autos.

The source said that these recalls included nearly 2,000 vehicles total, with the highest coming from a 1,750 unit group of Colorado, Malibu and GMC Canyon vehicles in Canada and the United States.

Check your car’s recall status using MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool.

MotorSafety.orgSome Buick Regals Subject to Power Steering Recall