INDIANAPOLIS -- There's a one-in-four chance that the vehicle you're driving has a recall on it - and you might not even know it.
More than 600,000 vehicles on the road in Indianapolis have unfixed recalls on them, according to an analysis from vehicle history website Carfax. That's up from 472,000 in 2016.
Experts say a lot of defects go unnoticed and unfixed, potentially putting you and your family in harms’ way.
“It’s a significant issue for Indiana as well as the rest of the US,” said Dave Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive for J.D. Power. “There could be a safety issue as it relates to the brakes, or the engine, or the seatbelts, or the air bags. That can be a significant safety concern for the consumer.”
Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney went to a busy shopping center to look for vehicles with recalls that hadn't been fixed and was shocked with what she found.
Using the free "MyCarfax" app, Kenney plugged in license plates and found several vehicles with unfixed recalls and potentially dangerous defects.
“Even if contact is made, some of these recalls may not seem particularly important in the eyes of the customer,” said Sargent. “Sometimes they worry the dealer will try to find other problems with the vehicle and it will end up costing them money.”
Sargent said they're seeing more recalls than ever for a reason.
“This is not because vehicles are getting worse in terms of reliability, but manufacturers are getting more cautious in terms of announcing recalls,” said Sargent. “They may recall something now they may not have previously.”
The bottom line: Not every recall is life threatening, but many involve potentially danger defects that need to be addressed.
“Getting your car fixed is not as painful as you might think,” said Sargent.
Call 6 Investigates handed out cards to consumers with cars we found had open recalls in the hopes of helping drivers hit the road safely.
Does Your Car Have a Recall?
Go to the federal government’s website SaferCar.gov and put in your VIN (or call 1-888-327-4236)
Go to the MyCarfax app and put in your license plate number
Go to sites like Autocheck and put in your VIN-If a recall pops up, call your dealer or manufacturer to set up an appointment to get your vehicle fixed
Bring your recall letter or postcard with you, if you have one