More than 57 million vehicles on the road have open safety recalls. That's one in five vehicles in the U.S.
Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of open safety recalls with about half a million right here in the metro.
When Chelsea Abney bought a used BMW SUV, the last thing she thought about was a recall.
"We had googled safety ratings, we had googled the cars safety features, that was one of the reasons we really liked the car," said Chelsea Abney about her used care, a 2011 BMW X5.
But two weeks into owning the car, the unexpected happened.
"It was almost like a scene out of a movie, the flames, the explosion," she said.
She had just returned home and parked in her driveway, 20 minutes later it was consumed by fire.
"No warning signs no lights, absolutely nothing, the car drove fine, it was a perfect ride home," Abney said.
Late last year, BMW issued two recalls for more than one million cars and SUVs, due to the risk of fires under the hood. But any car can be subject to a recall.
"We check for them every time they come across the drive," said Brent Campbell, with Bob Moore Nissan.
Almost daily, customers pull into his dealership's service department in Norman for a recall.
"It's a variety of things from anywhere from a computer being reprogrammed to maybe even just a trim piece on a dash, it could be a multitude of things," said Campbell.
And while most of what these mechanics fix isn't life threatening, they do see several safety recalls each week that could be dangerous.
Christopher Basso with CARFAX says in Oklahoma, one in four cars or 800,000 have an unfixed recall with about half of those right here in the metro.
"It really puts us at risk when we're driving on Oklahoma roads," said Basso. "Any vehicle that you see passing, one out of every four of them, chances are it has an unfixed recall on them for a serious safety issue, things that can cause fires, crashes, exploding air bags, real safety problems. If those recalled parts fail while the car is being driven, then everybody else on the road is at risk as well."
According to CARFAX, the vehicles most prone to having an unfixed recall on them are family oriented mini vans and SUVs.
"It comes down to convenience and having busy lives," he said. "Many people think that they're going to be without their car for days getting the recall fixed, so they don't take it in when in actuality those recall fixes while they're free also take less than a day."
It's easy to find out if your car needs a recall by using apps like My CARFAX, just plug in your vin number or make and model of the car and any recall issued will pop up. You can also check the status of your car online through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Chelsea is still working with BMW to find out why her caught fire.
"God was looking out for us, for our family, our animals," Abney said. "So thankful I wasn't in that car."
Manufacturers are required to notify owners by mail within 60 days of issuing a recall. Although many do, dealerships are not required to fix recalls prior to selling them, so always double check. You can go to any dealership that carries your car brand and the recall will be fixed for free.
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