The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into a Georgia Nissan dealer who sold at least one new car that had been recalled, without fixing the problem.
It is against the law for a dealer to sell a new recalled vehicle without making the necessary repairs.
NHTSA said it has evidence that Gwinnett Place Nissan of Duluth, Ga., sold a recalled Nissan Quest. The 2011 and 2012 model year Quests were recalled for a software issue that resulted in the minivans stalling when they had just a quarter tank of gas.
When cars stall unexpectedly, it can cause a serious accident, especially if the car stalls in an intersection or at high speeds. Nissan agreed to recall the minivans in March 2012.
It has not been a great month for Georgia-area dealers. General Motors threatened to pull its franchise from Bill Heard Chevrolet, the largest chain of Chevy dealers in the U.S., after the dealership was caught sending out fake recall notices to customers. The dealership was trying to lure customers back into the showroom in an attempt to either sell them longer maintenance plans or an entirely new car.
Before you buy a new or used car, it is easy to check to see if the vehicle has been recalled. Go to safercar.gov, and on the right hand side you can search by vehicle. If your new vehicle has been subject to a recall (and many are – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t purchase the car) as the dealership for the repair record. If buying a used car, you can ask for the same records if purchasing from a dealership.
If you’re buying a used car from a private owner, it’s a little trickier but not hard to do. Get the car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, from inside the door jam or on the lower part of the driver’s side windshield. Call a dealer who sells that brand of car and ask them to search the database to see if all recalls have been handled on that model.