Action 9 investigates hidden recalls

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ORLANDO,FLA. —

A Brevard County woman claims her car had a dangerous breakdown and she blames a recalled part that was never fixed. We found thousands of cars in Central Florida have open recalls and you could end up paying the price.

It appeared as though the tire collapsed on her Mercury Sable. A car Pat Gunderson bought for her son's family from a local dealership because it had low mileage. " It didn't have a dent on it, inside or out," said Pat. But 5 weeks later, the front axle failed in a parking lot. If  her son and grand kids had been on a busy road, Pat fears it could have been much worse," They could have been killed or they could have killed somebody else."

Later Pat discovered that car had an open federal safety recall. Regulators found front coil spring shields can fail and jeopardize safety. " I don't think they should have sold a car with an open recall on it," said Pat.

Federal law prohibits the sale of new cars with open recalls, there's no restrictions for used cars. And our investigation found thousands of cars being sold just in Central Florida with open safety recalls.

At an Orlando dealership, we found eight vehicles  had  recalls without repairs according to Carfax. A 2003 Nissan Xterra had a safety recall for front struts, yet when our buyer asked, he was told the car was in good shape and ready to head out the door.

Managers at Global Auto said if they know about any recalls they tell the buyers.

According to Chris Basso from Carfax," Florida has the third most cars for sale on line with open recalls." Carfax found more than 100,000 cars advertised on line in Florida with open recalls. "These are safety defects that could cause a fire , a crash, or something serious with these vehicles," said Basso.

Pat bought her car at Palm Bay Ford, where managers told us the part did not cause a failure, but because the recall was not repaired they gave her full credit toward a new vehicle.

Consumer experts say these recalls can be risky. Sellers and buyers need to check a vehicle's history and have it inspected.