Recalled cars may have not been repaired

The car driving beside you on your daily commute has likely been recalled, but hasn’t been repaired. "It's a huge safety risk,” said Chris Basso a Carfax spokesman. “These are issues that can cause fires, crashes, exploding airbags, things that put people's lives in danger."

Carfax says the numbers are staggering: 46 million cars under recall and yet unrepaired – representing roughly 20-percent of vehicles on the road today.

"Those cars are potential ticking time bombs," Basso said.

He stood atop the TV station parking garage and tested our cars – by plate number – using a Carfax app called MyCarfax. Of the 61 license plates we ran through the Carfax system, 18-percent were under recall and hadn't been fixed. 

“It doesn't surprise me," Basso added.

The flaws run the gamut: exploding airbags, faulty ignition switches, brake problems, computer glitches, and more.

Carfax says it receives daily updates from auto manufacturers about the status of both safety recalls and required repair work.

Basso says drivers are not diligent enough in fixing their cars.

In some cases – like the ongoing Takata airbag recall – consumers are unable to get the needed fix because parts are scarce.

That’s the case with a co-worker, Robin Carter.

"I don't want to be driving and all of the sudden have an accident and have something go through me," she explained. Carter has no choice but to drive her Honda Element, the airbag recall notwithstanding.

"It’s scary. It's very scary," she said.

But Basso says a part shortage does not account for all unrepaired cars on the road.

He points to a sedan and says it’s indicative of many of the 46 million CarFax says are a safety risk.

"This car was recalled four years ago," he told FOX 13. 

The app Basso is using, MyCarfax, is free. It’s available for anyone to use, and can be configured to send users alerts about new recalls. But Basso said the app is only part of the equation.

"Just knowing about the recall isn't enough. You need to take action," he insisted.