Early in May, BMW joined Ford, Honda and Fiat Chrysler, issuing a “Do Not Drive” warning for 90,000 vehicles built between 2000 and 2006 for the recall of a defective Takata air bag. Two weeks later Chrysler announced a “Park Outside” warning with the recall of 2014 to 2016 Jeep Cherokees due to a fire risk.
Unfortunately many of the dire warnings of life- and property-threatening defects are not being heeded. A new study released by CARFAX shows more than 2.5 million vehicles tagged with “Do Not Drive” or “Park Outside” safety recalls remain unrepaired as of May 1.
“Do Not Drive” and “Park Outside” notifications are recalls issued by automakers and federal safety officials. A “Do Not Drive” recall advises drivers not to operate their vehicles because a serious safety issue could lead to an accident or physical harm. A “Park Outside” recall is issued for vehicles with a high risk of causing a fire, and owners are advised to park these vehicles outside of garages and parking structures, and away from buildings.
“It’s heart-breaking. On average 20 to 25 percent of these vehicles are not getting fixed and the need is so urgent,” said Patrick Olsen, Editor in Chief at CARFAX. “CARFAX is working to raise awareness and trying to bring those numbers down.”
CARFAX studied five years of recalls and painstakingly searching through individual registrations and safety inspection reports to see if consumers had the repairs made to the vehicles.
“We were startled by the numbers we found,” Olsen said.
Olsen suggested a variety of factors could have impacted the lack of repairs, including the notifications being required to be sent through first-class mail, or consumers dismissing the notices as scams.
“There’s also a significant portion of people that don’t have the time or the ability to give up their vehicles for a period of time. It’s how they get to work and is part of their livelihood,” Olsen said.
Under the two orders, the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority (NHTSA) states repairs are free and the dealership and manufacturer will tow the vehicle for free.
In the CARFAX study, six states had more than 100,000 unrepaired vehicles, with California leading the way (245,000). The other state with more than 100,000 recall vehicles still on the road were Texas (242,000), Florida (237,000), New York (118,000), Pennsylvania (106,000) and Ohio (101,000).
In November, the NHTSA reported a person being killed by an airbag rupture in a Ford Ranger under a “Do Not Drive” warning.
“These are real concerns and could unfortunately have real consequences if they are not worked out,” Olsen said.
Consumers can check for free to see if their car has any open recall at Carfax.com/recall.