Used car buyers concerned that their next car could be one of the 900,000 recalled for safety inspections annually can now check official lists free of charge on the AA's website.
The AA believes as many as 260,000 cars slip through the recall net each year. The website www.theAA.com, covers all recalls issued by car manufacturers and logged by the Vehicle Inspectorate since 1995. Used car buyers are then able to check with car manufacturers via their customer service helpdesks or franchised dealers to see whether their cars were inspected and faults put right.
Chris Patience, head of AA technical policy, said: "The Vehicle Inspectorate reports that safety recalls are generally 70 to 85% effective. Of the 15 to 30% that escape, although some will have been written off in accidents or exported, most will be sold on without the safety inspections.
"Some owners will ignore recall notices or the notice coincides with a change of ownership and does not reach the new owner."