On Your Side Investigation: Hundreds of thousands of cars with unfixed recalls in Birmingham

Over 400k vehicles have open recalls

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -When’s the last time you checked to see if your vehicle has a recall? In Birmingham, over 400,000 vehicles have some type of unfixed recall according to the vehicle history company CARFAX.

"Safety recalls that range from things that can cause exploding airbags to fires that increase risk of crash,” Chris Basso with CARFAX said.

CarFax reports southern states like Alabama have some of the highest number of recalls. Birmingham is one of the top offenders. The recalls impact personal cars, rentals and even ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. We found Uber vehicles at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International airport with airbags that might not inflate and seatbelts that might not work. CARFAX has found similar safety issues with ridesharing vehicles around the country.

"These are vehicles that we’re blindly trusting to take us from point A to B safely and in reality a good percentage of these cars could be anything but,” Basso said.

About a mile from the airport is the ridesharing waiting lot. We found a couple of cars with recalls. One vehicle’s brake lamp could fail prematurely. The driver wasn’t aware of the recall. He tells us he’s going to look into it. "I’m going to definitely do some more research on it and see if I can take it to a dealership and get some more information about it and see if I can get it fixed,” the Uber driver said.

We found the recalls using the free MyCarFax app. All you have to do is type in the license plate and within seconds, you can find out if your car has a recall. CARFAX says there are more than 57 million recalled vehicles on the roads which breaks down to one out of every five vehicles in the U.S. Basso says work-life balance may be the reasons some owners don't know about recalls.

"Birmingham has one of the highest percentages of open recalls in the country, so it really underscores the importance of people whether they own their car or take ridesharing services to find out about these recalls and make sure that they’re getting fixed and keeping their families safe,” Basso added.

A Lyft spokesperson tells us: “Lyft drivers use their personal vehicles to drive on the platform — the same car they use in their daily lives, driving their kids to school or friends around town. Drivers have a strong personal incentive to make sure their car is in a safe operating condition. In addition to a safety inspection, drivers make a continuous representation that their vehicle meets the industry safety standards and all applicable state department of motor vehicle requirements of its kind.”

We’re still waiting to hear back from Uber.

You can find more recall resources from CARFAX here.

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.