BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. -- A woman has a stern warning for drivers after her 2013 used vehicle went up in flames.

  • Joan Williams: Used SUV went up in flames last month
  • Williams says she was never notified about recalls
  • If you buy a used vehicle, make sure the manufacturer has your information
  • Go to to check for recalls based on your VIN
  • RELATED: Find the latest recalls

Joan Williams says she bought a used 2013 Ford Escape from a local reputable dealership with less than 10,000 miles on it, and in less than a year she paid it off.

At the time she bought her used car in September 2013, the Carfax came up clean.

Fast forward to this year on July 28. The car Williams said she grew fond of caught fire on the side of the highway and was completely engulfed within minutes. The car is now deemed a complete loss and without comprehensive coverage, her insurance company won’t for her to get a new car.

What Williams said she didn’t know was the first recall on her car was issued just two months later after buying it. The safety risk was the potential for a fuel leak, leading to engine fires. Since then a total of five recalls were issued for the car.

According to Percepta, a call service center for Ford, when a recall is issued they will send a letter in the mail.

If you bought the car used, the group says it will match the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) with the driver's license of the current owner in order to find them. Depending on the severity of that recall, they might send a couple of letters and automated calls.

“I was never notified, never received anything in the mail,” explained Williams.

It’s best to confirm with the manufacturer of the vehicle, especially if you buy a used car, that they have your updated information in their system.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, manufacturers are responsible for issuing a recall notice to vehicle owners.  

But if you want to make sure for yourself, go to and search for recalls by the 17-character VIN, or the make and model of the car in question. That will produce a list of active recalls.

Williams says she doesn’t want anyone else to go through the financial loss of losing a car due to a recall.

“You should really check your car for recalls, check your family's car. You need to!” she remarks.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, repairs are done free of charge at the manufacturer’s dealerships for cars 15 years or newer at the time of the recall.​