By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Millions of used cars are sold every year in this country and many of them may not be safe. The I-team uncovered hidden hazards in countless vehicles for sale across Massachusetts.

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A 2005 Acura for sale at a Boston-area used car lot looks like it’s in good shape, but looks can be deceiving according to Chris Basso, spokesperson for Carfax, an organization that tracks the history of cars. “We found that the open recall that exists could result in a crash due to a breaking issue,” he said. The I-Team found that recall was never fixed. “That recalled part could fail at any time,” Brasso added. Failing breaks would be a serious hazard to anyone in the car or on the road.

Bob Knotts had no idea he was at risk until his van burst into flames sitting in his driveway. The used car dealer that sold it to him never fixed it and never told Knotts. “What happened to me could have happened to anybody,” he said. Brasso agrees. “About one out of every three cars that are recalled doesn’t get fixed and many of these cars are resold to unknowing consumers,” he said.

The I-Team discovered used cars for sale with unrepaired recalls from Haverhill to Maynard to Hanover. We found brake problems, leaking fuel tanks and several other serious issues.

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According to Massachusetts car safety researcher Sean Kane, part of the problem is that there is no federal law that requires used car dealers to fix open recalls before they sell a car. “These are all scenarios that lead to death and injury crash and they are all preventable,” he said.

In a statement, the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association said the organization… “encourages used vehicle dealers to repair the open recall before selling the vehicle to a customer.. and at a minimum disclose it.”

The frustrating part, according to Kane, is that repairing a recall is free for the dealer. “Dealers need to be more diligent about getting recalls fixed.” But he also cautioned that consumers need to be aware of the issue and make sure they check for open recalls before buying a used car.

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The recall status of every used car is available at and it’s free. A quick check could protect you and your family from serious injury.