Dangerous car recalls cause concern - WFLA News Channel 8

Dangerous car recalls cause concern

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Your car may have something major wrong with it, even though you have no idea. Car manufacturers are supposed to notify owners of product recalls, but sometimes that doesn't happen. 

Bhamini Patel says she had no idea she was driving around in a ticking time bomb. But then her 2003 Mazda Tribute started smoking. She dropped it off at her mechanic's house, and then it caught fire at 4 a.m. while her family slept. The car was destroyed.

Patel now knows that Mazda had recalled her car years earlier for a problem, the recall says, could result in fire. She's thankful the car wasn't in her garage when the fire started.

"My bedroom backs right onto my garage. It would have just exploded, and you know, I would be dead," she said. "I wouldn't have had a chance."

Patel is the second person to call 8 On Your Side recently about dangerous car recalls.

Mimi Sanchez says she was driving her 2003 Jeep Liberty when both of her airbags deployed. She managed to stop the car but ended up with burns on her forearm.

Both women say they weren't notified of the defects by their car manufacturers, even though 8 On Your Side found published recalls on both vehicles.

Beverly Braga, a Mazda spokeswoman, says internal records show Patel's car was serviced for the recall issue in June 2007, and she's not sure why the repair didn't prevent the fire. She said Mazda is waiting for Patel's insurance company to complete its investigation into the cause of the fire.

Patel, however, insists that Mazda notified her of only one minor recall, and she took care of it right away. She says she had no idea about the major recall issue, an electrical short in the car's braking system.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: So, could this happen to you? Thousands of cars have been recalled in recent years. Some of the recalls are minor; some are serious.

Car manufacturers are required to submit recall information to the government, and it's all listed online.

You can go the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration's website, www.safercar.gov, and look up your car. Any recalls will be listed there.

The NHSTA also recommends car buyers check out used cars on this site before deciding to purchase.

Have you had any issues with your car related to a recall? Contact Shannon Behnken:
sbehnken@wfla.com

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