Consumer Law

Pending bills would require used-car and rental companies to fix recalled vehicles

Used-car dealers and rental car companies don’t have to repair recalled vehicles before they are rented or sold to the public, and they don’t even have to tell buyers that a vehicle is subject to a recall.

There are two proposals pending in Congress to change the law, the New York Times reports. One, part of the Transportation Department’s four-year budget plan, would require used-car and rental companies to keep recalled cars off the road until they are repaired. The other would require rental car companies to repair recalled vehicles before sale.

Because of consumer pressure, major rental-car companies have supported the bill, and they are voluntarily doing repairs, according to the American Car Rental Association. But consumers have limited redress if the rental-car company doesn’t comply, the Times says. There is also some sparring over whether automakers should be protected from reimbursing rental car companies for the time that recalled vehicles are out of service.

CarMax says it offers a “certified quality inspection” of vehicles it sells, but it doesn’t include repairs of recalled vehicles. The National Automobile Dealers Association says some recalls don’t affect safety and the recalled vehicles don’t have to be fixed immediately. An association spokesman told the Times there should be a graduated system to determine which recalls do affect safety.

Information on recalls is available at

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