The United States does not have a law requiring the repair of used vehicles — including rental cars — that have been recalled for safety issues before they are rented or sold to the public. Used-car dealers and rental car companies are allowed to fix problems when — and if — they see fit. And they are not required by law to disclose to customers that a vehicle is the subject of a recall.
Even as Congress and law enforcement officials investigate the delayed recall of 2.6 million General Motors cars for a faulty ignition, auto dealers and many manufacturers oppose efforts to require recalled used and rental cars to be immediately repaired. These efforts include a measure recently sent to Congress and a separate Senate bill that has languished since 2011.
Dealers contend that not all recalls require immediate attention, though regulators say recalls, by definition, involve pressing safety concerns. And auto manufacturers, while not opposed in principle to mandatory repairs, want protection from rental car companies that might sue over lost business while recalled cars are out of service.