Older Recalled Vehicles Don't Get Repaired

The death of a Houston-area teenager has Texas car owners scrambling to get their vehicles repaired. The 17-year-old died last month when her defective air bag exploded, sending metal shards into the car. A congressional subcommittee held hearings Thursday to make sure your car gets fixed.

The current recall affects 28.8 million vehicles across a dozen manufacturers.

Ultimately, it’s up to the consumer to take your car to a dealer and have the air bag fixed.

Rep. Michael Burgess of the 26th District chairs the Energy and Commerce House subcommittee holding the hearings. He says members are especially concerned about second and third-owner vehicles that are more than five years old. Burgess says fewer than 15 percent of those owners take their recalled cars in for repair. While federal law mandates that dealers fix recalls before a new car is sold, there is no such mandate that used cars be repaired prior to sale.

Congressional leaders discussed ways to improve policy to help you learn about recalls and get your car repaired quickly. At these hearings, subcommittee members also learned there are still 85 million more vehicles that may have to be recalled because of Takata air bags.

Consumers need to keep checking to assure your vehicle hasn't been added to the recall list. You simply enter your VIN on a website established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Unfortunately, getting her recalled air bag fixed has not been easy for an NBC5 retired teacher who contacted NBC5 Responds.

Sherry Smith says she was told it would take four months to fix her Honda CR-V. Burgess says he believes it likely doesn’t take that long at most dealerships in North Texas. But he urges anyone facing a lengthy delay to call the automaker.

“Say, ‘Look, I've got this car. It's been recalled. I need it fixed. Tell me how!’ They have an intense interest in getting this done. No one wants to see another one of these accidents," said Burgess.

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