Should I Buy This Car? Always Check Recalls Before Buying A Used Car

If you're wondering, "Should I buy this car," checking the model's recall history could help you decide if it's got a history of issues.

Find out which models have the most concerns before choosing your next used car.

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Should I buy this car?

Recalls are an important tool to keep car owners safe, but they can also serve as a great research tool for anyone purchasing a used car. 

Recalls can alert you to serious issues associated with your desired car before you purchase. Make an informed decision and always check recalls before buying a used car. If the owner had the issue fixed, you may be in the clear. Either way, it’s important to ask. 

Whats a recall?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a recall occurs when a manufacturer or the NHTSA determines that a vehicle or parts of the vehicle, like the equipment, car seat, or tires are failing to meet minimum safety standards.

When a recall is conducted, manufacturers of the vehicle can remedy the situation through repairs, replacements, refunds, and even repurchasing the entire vehicle. 

Should I buy this car that’s been recalled?

Automobiles have a lot of moving parts, and any number of these parts can malfunction or pose a risk of injury.

But that’s why manufacturers issue recalls, so they can fix those parts. Manufacturers want you to be safe because their reputation is on the line, if for no other reason.

So a recall could simply be a great way to begin a conversation about vehicle maintenance with the current owner of the car you’re interested in buying. 

According to Hot Cars, one of the biggest recalls in GM history was regarding corrosion on tailgate cables. Sometimes recalls can be for simple things like the recall on Honda cars for seatbelts. Other times they can be responses to horrific incidents like Toyota’s unintended acceleration problems or faulty ignition switches on Fords causing spontaneous combustion. 

Recalls are usually in response to reported issues by consumers. In the best cases, they are done before much damage is done, but sometimes they are in response to issues that spiral out of control. In 2014, GM recalled around 30 million vehicles in the wake of unfathomable consequences. 

It’s important to research your vehicle before purchasing. If you find out your manufacturer doesn’t have a great reputation, you might be better off looking elsewhere. Try to have a general idea of what vehicles are reliable and which ones aren’t.

What are the most reliable vehicles?

According to consumer reports analyzed by USA Today, the top ten most reliable automotive brands for 2023 are as follows:

  • Toyota
  • Lexus
  • BMW
  • Mazda
  • Honda
  • Audi
  • Subaru
  • Acura
  • Kia
  • Lincoln

Some car models that prove reliable include:

  • 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
  • 2023 Lexus GX
  • 2023 Mini Cooper
  • 2022 Toyota Prius
  • 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • 2023 Lincoln Corsair
  • 2023 Toyota Corolla
  • 2023 Subaru Crosstrek
  • 2023 BMW 3 Series
  • 2022 Toyota Prius Prime

What are the least reliable vehicles?

In terms of cars on the market right now, there are several that you might want to look into first. Forbes lists 10 automakers with the most significant recall campaigns of 2022.

  • Ford initiated 67 recalls totaling 8,636,265 units
  • Volkswagen initiated 45 recalls totaling 1,040,885 units
  • Fiatt-Chrysler/Stellantis initiated 38 recalls totaling 3,041,431 units
  • Mercedes-Benz initiated 33 recalls totaling 969,993 units
  • General Motors initiated 32 recalls totaling 3,371,302 units
  • Kia initiated 24 recalls totaling 1,458,962 units
  • Hyundai initiated 22 recalls totaling 1,452,101 units
  • Tesla initiated 20 recalls totaling 3,769,581 units
  • BMW initiated 19 recalls totaling 1,000,455 units
  • Nissan initiated 15 recalls totaling 1,568,385 units

USA Today also lists a few car models in 2023 that aren’t the most reliable:

  • 2023 Jeep Wrangler
  • 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE
  • 2022 Jeep Gladiator
  • 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500
  • 2022 Chevrolet Bolt
  • 2022 Ford Explorer
  • 2022 Nissan Sentra
  • 2022 Lincoln Aviator
  • 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric

How to check for recalls?

The next time you’re wondering, “Should I buy this car?” take a moment to check the reacal history. If you’re wondering how to check for a recall, you’re on the right track. It’s easy to figure this information out, the first step is locating your 17-digit VIN. You can usually find this on the outside of your car on the bottom driver’s side windshield. Then use the NHTSA Safety Issues & Recalls tool to see if there are any open recalls on your vehicle. 

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