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Recalls and Used-Car Shopping: GM and Carfax Team Up

Being a company focused firmly forward, we don’t talk used cars much. But a program like this deserves some virtual ink.
Recalls have been in the news this year like rarely before. The depth and scope of Toyota’s problems has increased sensitivity to any manufacturer’s recalls–and make no mistake, there are many issued. Most not so severe as Toyota’s problems with accelerator shims, but out there all the same.
Half of the equation for ensuring cars on the road have had any recall work performed is in the owner’s hands. Often, owners ignore recall notices, particularly for minor issues, or figure it’ll get handled with the next oil change, to have it fall off today’s crowded to-do lists.
GM and Carfax announced a measure of help for anyone looking to purchase a used vehicle, making it easier to find out if the car was affected by a recall and if the work was done. GM is providing VINs to Carfax of millions of Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevrolets, GMCs, Saabs, Saturns, Pontiacs, and Hummers with open recalls.

Carfax provides vehicle history reports based in VIN (vehicle identification number), looking for everything from accidents to flood damage, and now, to open recalls. If you’re buying a Certified Pre-Owned car from a GM dealer, you can get the Carfax report free. Depending on the level of report, Carfax may or may not charge.
Cynics among us recognize that this is not necessarily a free service, and that it will help GM sell used cars and Carfax sell reports. But the information does ultimately make it easier for us, as the buying public, to ensure our vehicles are well-maintained.
GM also uses OnStar to communicate recalls, in monthly OnStar vehicle maintenance reports, and OnStar operators have access to recall information, but getting to that requires activating the OnStar service–it’s available on some used cars, but not free.
Kudos to GM for such visible and easy steps for getting recall information out to buyers throughout the full life of the vehicle, beyond the first owner.
Here’s GM’s official announcement:
GM, Carfax Team to Help Consumers Identify Recalls
Industry Leaders Help Owners and Shoppers Learn What Needs to be Fixed
DETROIT – Owners of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles and customers in the market for used models will soon be able to check for unrepaired safety, non-compliance and emission recalls through Carfax, the companies announced Wednesday.
GM is providing millions of vehicle identification numbers (VINs) to Carfax for cars, trucks and crossovers with open recalls. Used car buyers and sellers will be able to access this information through Carfax Vehicle History Reports and at by May 1. Those VINs also include used Hummer, Saab, Pontiac and Saturn models – brands that GM no longer sells.
Consumers utilizing these resources can help significantly increase completion rates on open recalls, according to Carfax research. About four out of five GM owners complete recall repairs within 18 months of being notified of a recall.
“We know some people do not take their vehicles in for recall repairs when they get their letters. Carfax makes it easy for consumers to find out whether a vehicle they are considering has an open recall and increases the chances of that repair being made,” said Jamie Hresko, GM vice president of Global Quality. “If that recall is handled well in the dealership, it can lead to more satisfied customers.”
In addition to regular mail required for safety recalls, GM’s OnStar operators alert owners of open recalls and they are included on monthly OnStar diagnostic reports emailed to owners who opt for the service.
Millions of people every year rely on Carfax to help them buy and sell used cars. Using the vehicle’s unique 17-character VIN, a Carfax Report is instantly generated from a database of more than 7 billion records reported by over 34,000 data sources. Carfax reports are free at thousands of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealerships for GM Certified Pre-Owned and used vehicles.
“Open recall information is important for any used car buying decision,” said Gerry Bayer, vice president of Carfax. “Carfax continues to work with automotive leaders like GM to make this and other important details readily available to car buyers and sellers through Carfax Vehicle History Reports.”
About General Motors: General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 217,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, FAW, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at
About Carfax: Millions of used car buyers and sellers each year rely on Carfax, the most trusted provider of vehicle history information. Using the unique 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) found on vehicle dashboards and title documents, Carfax instantly generates a detailed Vehicle History Report on any used car or light truck. Carfax Vehicle History Reports(tm) provide valuable information that helps used car buyers and sellers make better decisions. Free Carfax Vehicle History Reports are instantly available with vehicles listed in nearly every online marketplace by Carfax-subscribing dealers. For more information, ask your dealer or visit

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