Are Used Car Dealers Selling Recalled Cars?

There's no law requiring used car dealers to tell customers about open safety recalls.
3:00 | 04/04/14

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Transcript for Are Used Car Dealers Selling Recalled Cars?
To make the model with color and there are so many questions when you're buying a car. But there's another question a potentially life saving one you might never think to ask. Is -- safe I mean however it's taking -- you're watching undercover video of our recent visit to -- used car dealership in New York. And what you're about to hear and see. -- -- -- -- It's a small -- What we want this it's safe stop three -- Now take a closer look that the 2006 cobalt. The very same GM vehicle at the center of the major national recall but will this dealer Telesis and I touch it. -- -- these vehicles have a faulty ignition switch the consequences of which can be deadly. -- these dramatic photos capture the horrific accident that killed the nurse 129 birthday. In fact it was this very tragedy in addition to at least a dozen other jets. That helped launch the GM auto recall one of the biggest in history lawyers say the young woman's cobalt -- -- -- switch off. And she lost control just a few months after GM settled the case a recall fiasco ignited across the country. But what if you're buying one of the three and a half million used cars now on the market from GM and other manufacturers. With open recalls. Can you count on the salesman to fully inform you. We hit the road to find out to see how upfront or knowledgeable car dealerships would beat. About cars for sale that might be under open recall. Our producer Jerry went undercover in five New York area used car loss. Asking about cars we already knew had open recalls. Does the Muslim call -- the -- Doesn't know what -- -- -- -- 200000 mountain of rubble there. It took a look at this 2007 silver cobalt safety assessment gave full disclosure the whole world has every -- every corner right now. The ignition switch. Any GM will cover -- complete coverage here we'll look what happens at this next law. Can you -- the hunt for me this salesman shows us the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Which also has an open recalls this one for your bank problems and yes no question I got a couple of kids seven. And eleven. And I want to make sure the -- -- is everything stays the same level no problem who will. This important vehicle. He says they'll take it to a mechanic for an inspection before the final sale. But no mention at all of that important -- all right as long as the cars are safe good technical. Don't know nothing -- you know and I think. We called back a few days later to follow up on the incident and the office manager said we didn't know -- had a recall. And that's not all we found. Watch what happens at another dealership in New York. 2006 -- -- with the ignition switch recall but no hazard but has taken at least a dozen lines cases. Safe I mean that whatever -- safe -- Listen it's a small block. We'll be awarded this is safe because nothing -- anything nobody -- currency totally peaceful rebellion in. -- you so much -- -- yeah I I was I was gonna be nothing we need to know it all home. You don't know whether that car that you are looking at which looks like a real cream -- Have set two or three outstanding -- on -- -- you could drive out of the lot and actually have to break down or crashed just a couple miles down the room. There's actually no federal or state law that requires used car dealers to tell customers about open recalls. People are driving. Vehicles with passers that we got recall. But they're not fixed. It's actually quite easy find out about recalls. If you know what to do and how to do it. Take that cobalt for example -- on GM dot com we just plugged in the -- in the cars ID number and within seconds we think. It has a recall car -- dot com also has a tool on their web site. The does recall checks for a number of auto manufacturers. Three days later we went back to -- Angela -- order. -- to last like he never mentioned the recall for the 2006 global we told him we were interested in buying will be awarded as it's safe. You have -- that the score was six. But it actually -- and respect. While recalls can record it once you've watched that a -- we don't know that these people well we pulled up right here on CN -- -- There's a recall ignition switch replacement. Well we don't get these so moving forward -- you're gonna August outlook and everybody -- to see if there's a recall and after we left Angelo called to say he was taking that cobalt off the law. Until it was fixed. As for you visit those manufacturer web sites they have online tools to check if your -- has the recall. -- -- sounding lesson we learned be a savvy consumer when it comes to recalled vehicles. It could save your line. I'm GO PV tests for Nightline and he.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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