Entries in Used Cars (6)


Millions of Recalled Cars Are Sold Without Needed Repairs

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Every year millions of recalled cars are sold to unsuspecting buyers without the needed repairs.  

Vehicle history website Carfax just completed a study that shows that in 2012 just over two million unrepaired recalled vehicles were offered for sale online.  But that's just online and just the sites Carfax catalogued, so the actual number is probably higher.

Carfax singled out Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin because its data shows the number of recalled vehicles for sale in those states has gone up 25 percent in the past year.

Carfax can tell that the vehicles have been recalled but not repaired because the Feds make recall notices for certain makes and models available.  Manufacturers and dealers track the VIN numbers of the individual vehicles that are brought in for the needed fix.

The fact that recalled vehicles are offered for sale is bad news if you don't know it, but could be good news if you do. First, the bad: The very definition of a federal vehicle recall is that there is a safety problem with that make, model and year.  So buying a car subject to an open recall could mean you're putting yourself and your family at risk.

On the other hand, if you know the car you are looking at has been recalled, you can use that as a bargaining chip in your price negotiations.  You will be able to get the repair for free at a dealership, but you can haggle over the time you are going to have to spend.

"Before a car changes hands, there are lots of opportunities for everyone involved to check for open recalls," said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax.  "Yet this data is proof that it's not happening enough."

Fortunately, it's easy to check.  You can try the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's own website, though it's notoriously difficult to navigate.  Here is where NHTSA posts recall summaries from the past six months. The government portal for broader vehicle safety information is

However, an easier resource is the free recall check Carfax itself offers:  Another free resource about recalls and auto safety is the website of the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Some legislators in California -- the state with the biggest population and the most cars -- are introducing legislation that would require sellers to repair recalled vehicles before selling them.  Last year, California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein sponsored federal legislation to require rental car companies to repair recalled vehicles before putting them on the road again.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Eleven Tips on Privately Selling Your Used Car

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Private-party car sales are up.  More than 11 million cars are sold to people from people every year, according to Manheim Consulting, part of a used-car wholesale operation.  And nearly 40 million used cars are sold each year, three times the number of new cars.

If you're looking to get rid of your old vehicle yourself, here are 11 tips from experts to help you get the most money back:

Prep your car and rethink the keychain.  Vacuum up the hair, empty the ashtray and get rid of the loose change and food wrappers.  Empty the trunk, check the fluids -- oil, brake and windshield -- and get the car washed and even waxed.  Don’t forget about the tires.

“Even though it might be inconvenient to you,” said Brian Moody, Autotrader’s used-car expert, “someone wants to picture their stuff there -- not necessarily your stuff.”

Be upfront and organized.  Get the car inspected and have all maintenance records and warranties available.

Price it right.  Check with a local dealer and online resource guides like and to come up with a price tag.  That sweet spot is usually best between 97 percent and 102 percent of blue book.

Take photos and more photos.  Take dozens of pictures to prove that you have nothing to hide.  Take shots from all sorts of angles -- interior, exterior, the engine, trunk, dashboard -- and then show it.  And make sure the steering wheel is straight!

Make a video ad.  Make your car come alive -- a little song and dance never hurt -- and tell its story.  Be funny.  Tell the world why you love your car.

Write the ad.  Be specific.  Focus on how the car gets out of snow well or has amazing windshield wipers.  Avoid gimmicky phrases like “fully loaded” and “like new.”  Be honest about the car’s flaws too.  Show a dent.  Mention a stain.  This will make a potential buyer trust you because no used car is perfect and that’s OK.

Advertise in three places.  Most private sellers sell their cars online so check out, and free sites like Craig’s List and Facebook Marketplace.  Post signs everywhere -- in the supermarket, the coffee shop, pass them out and if you have a regular mechanic, tell him/her it’s for sale.  Put a “For Sale” sign in the car and then drive it around town.  And don’t just post a phone number.  Post the price too.

Dress for success.  Wear decent clothes and shoes when you show your car to a potential buyer.  Make sure the garage is clean, the lawn is mowed and flowers are blooming.  Be confident.

Nicole Marksen, an automotive insider, also shared some don’ts when trying to close a deal.

Don’t be too smooth.  Marksen said most people are afraid of going to a dealership so private sellers should make potential buyers feel “warm” and “comfortable.”

Don’t ignore “her.”
  Marksen said that 85 percent of car-buying decisions were ultimately made by a woman.

Don’t negotiate before the test drive.  “What you want to do is have them driving, really loving it, and then having that discussion after,” she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Buying a Used Car: How to Save Money, Avoid a Lemon 

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With parents sending their kids off to college, some of them might be in the market for a reliable used car for trips to school or back to the nest for holidays. Experts have some tips to help parents not pick a mobile money pit.

The first step is to make sure the model you choose was well engineered. After that, you must scrutinize the individual cars you are considering to make sure they have never been in a crash and have always been well-maintained.

You can start your used car search in your slippers, by consulting the car resources available right on the Internet.

The Consumer Reports Used Car Buying Guide has been an essential resource for decades. You can get it instantly online at

Advice from Consumer Reports stands out because the publication doesn't accept any advertising dollars from car companies or anybody else. You also get the benefit of Consumer Reports' own anonymous testing of vehicles. If you want a shortcut, Consumer Reports puts out a list of Used Car Best Bets and a list of Used Car Bad Bets.

Auto website also puts out an annual Best Bets list. It weighs reliability and safety, but also availability. That can be key, because if a vehicle is more widely available, by the law of supply and demand it will be cheaper.

Edmunds is best known for its vehicle pricing tools. The website offers what it calls the True Market Value price or "TMV." Edmunds gathers sales data from dealerships across the country to see what cars are selling for in the real world.

Once you've settled on a model, you have to settle on an individual car. A good vehicle check will prevent this and is a two-step process.

Carfax reports remain a godsend to used car buyers. There are other vehicle history websites out there now, including some affiliated with the government. But Carfax is still way ahead of the pack. Carfax charges $30 for a single report or up to $50 for unlimited reports.

Be aware that vehicle history reports do not always catch traffic accidents. If the car you're considering was in an accident that was not large enough to generate a police report, it might not show up on the vehicle history report. Carfax now has agreements with some collision repair facilities and insurance companies to try to fill this information gap. And the U.S. Department of Justice recently got involved and is trying to compel insurance companies and salvage shops to report accident data to a central authority.

Now for the other crucial step that you must take: Get the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic. Take the used car to a mechanic before you buy it. There are mobile mechanics who can bring their diagnostic tools right to the car. Also, AAA-approved repair shops offer AAA members a free 24-point inspection of their vehicle.

You can get this same inspection for a vehicle you are considering buying. If the dealer or owner won't allow you to get the vehicle inspected by a mechanic, walk away from the deal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Prices of Used Cars Soar as Fewer Consumers Buy New Vehicles

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- One of the biggest investments that the average American makes is turning out to be a gold mine.

According to Kelley Blue Book, late-model used cars are soaring in value because of weak new vehicle sales, which in turn is making slightly older automobiles a more scarce, and therefore more hot, commodity.

Kelley, the gold standard in auto pricing information, says that the average one- to three-year-old vehicle is selling for around $23,000.  Compare that to 2008, before the bottom dropped out on the U.S. economy, when used cars were averaging around $15,000.

That's a 16 percent increase annually.  Practically no other current investment boasts such a great return.

Alec Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book, adds, "Consumers who plan to sell or trade in a used car soon will likely see their vehicle hold its value well.  Alternatively, shoppers in the market for a used car will continue to pay more, making it difficult to buy at a discount."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Feds: Hezbollah Gets Into the Used Car Business

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The DEA and the Treasury Department announced Thursday that under provisions of the Patriot Act, the U.S. is barring American financial institutions from doing business with the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB). Treasury officials allege that the bank has been laundering narcotics proceeds -- as much as $200 million per month -- on behalf of an international drug ring run by a Lebanese trafficker named Ayman Joumaa. According to officials, a big slice of the drug profits were then funneled back to Hezbollah in Lebanon by Joumaa and nine coconspirators through an African affiliate of LCB.

According to the Treasury, cash from drug sales in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East was first laundered through money exchanges in Lebanon, then wired to U.S. car dealers via LCB. The dealers then shipped cars to West Africa, and the proceeds from the sales of the cars in Africa were sent via an LCB affiliate in The Gambia to Hezbollah in Lebanon. None of the American used car dealers allegedly involved in the transactions were identified.

Treasury officials also said that wire transfers from LCB were sent to U.S. correspondents to pay Asian suppliers of consumer goods. The goods were then shipped to Latin America and sold for local currency.

Under the Patriot Act, LCB has now been labeled a "financial institution of primary money-laundering concern." The U.S. government has designated Hezbollah a "Foreign Terrorist Organization."

"This action seeks to protect the U.S. financial system from the illicit proceeds flowing through LCB and to deprive this international narcotics trafficking and money laundering network of its preferred access point into the formal financial system," said Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department's under secretary for terrorism and financial Intelligence. "Any financial institution that collaborates in illicit conduct on this scale risks losing its access to the United States."

LCB is based in Beirut and maintains a network of 35 branches in Lebanon and a representative office in Montreal, Canada.

Ayman Joumaa and his alleged drug-trafficking and money laundering network have been on Drug Enforcement Administration's radar for some time. On Jan. 26, Treasury designated Joumaa and 19 other associated individuals and entities as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

Joumaa is believed to be in Lebanon, and no criminal charges have been filed in the U.S. against him or his alleged co-conspirators.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Indiana Car Dealership Offers $79 Vehicles

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FORT WAYNE, Ind.) -- More than 600 bargain-seekers flocked to an Indiana used car dealership this weekend that promised deals as low as $79 on some vehicles.

The crowd began to gather Friday night for the Saturday event, which the company said would offer reductions on more than 400 cars, trucks and SUVs.

“It’s like giving back for all the support we’ve seen from the community,” said Bo Nahrwold, a manager at Fort Wayne Toyota-Lexus-Kia. “It’s our way of giving back, and it’s only right.”

The dealership blamed the economy for its surplus of inventory, saying many have taken advantage of low interest rates and upgraded to newer cars.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio