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What you don't know about a rideshare vehicle could be a safety issue for your family

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By TARA MORGAN, WSYX/WTTE

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) - There are tens of thousands of open recalls for all kinds of cars on the roads, and many could be cars you don’t own but get into for a ride.

Rideshares get people from point A to point B, whether it’s just around town or trips to and from the airport. But since they’re not your personal cars, you may not know their maintenance history or whether there’s an open recall. According to Carfax, more than 57 million cars in the United States have open recalls, which means there’s a safety-related defect that needs to be fixed.

Chris Basso, with Carfax, demonstrated a quick, free way to find out by just plugging in license plate numbers to the MyCarFax app.

“Those recalls span everything from windshield wipers all the way to tailpipes and your brake lights,” said Basso.

Basso says more than 2 million open recalls are in the state of Ohio with just over a half million in Columbus.

“These are vehicles we’re blindly trusting to get us from point A to point B safely and if it has a recall on it, that may not be the case,” said Basso.

ABC 6 looked at both Lyft and Uber as travelers waited for their rides at John Glenn International Airport.

Basso typed in license plate numbers into the app and results popped up in seconds. He showed one rider how the car she was about to get into had a safety belt recall.

“So, if you’re in an accident, the seat belt could be cut and not protect you,” said Basso.

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If that doesn’t make you think twice, the report on another car Basso checked just might.

“Three open recalls,” said Basso.

The information he pulled up showed recalls on the power lift gate, spare tire carrier cable, and one that could allow the shift lever to be moved out of park without hitting the brake.

“That’s killed people before,” said Basso.

Basso explained that to the driver, who said he wasn’t aware of the recalls.

The drivers ABC 6 spoke with were appreciative of the heads-up and so were the riders.

“Really any car can have a recall on it, about one in every five cars coming through does,” said Basso.

Basso says the app is free and so are the fixes to keep you and your family safe.

“Even the small inconvenience in terms of time that it cost you to get that recalled car in pales in comparison to what could happen if you don’t do it,” said Basso.

The reassurance is priceless.

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“So, good news, whatever you get into has no open recalls, but it does need an oil change,” said Basso to another rider.

ABC 6 On Your Side reached out to both Uber and Lyft. Uber says it encourages drivers to check for recalls with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sign up for recall alerts and call their dealership to schedule free repairs if they do come across one.

A Lyft spokesperson states that the company requires a rigorous safety inspection of all drivers’ vehicles before they are permitted to operate on the platform. Lyft drivers use their personal vehicles to drive the platform. Drivers therefore have a strong personal incentive to make sure their car is in safe operating condition.

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