Consumers for Auto
Reliability and Safety ®

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety

The CARS Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1979 that prevents motor vehicle-related fatalities, injuries, and economic losses through education, outreach, aid to victims, and related activities.

The CARS Foundation was originally named Motor Voters, and in 1996 the name was changed to avoid confusion with "Motor Voter" voter registration laws.

Among the CARS Foundation's achievements are:
  • Initiating California's auto "lemon law" for car buyers, which became the model for similar laws in all 50 states. State lemon laws require auto manufacturers to repurchase seriously defective vehicles that have not been repaired, violating the manufacturer's express warranty. Often, the defects jeopardize the safety of the vehicle owners, their families, and others who share the roads. Prior to enactment of state lemon laws, companies such as Ford argued that it might take them up to 30 attempts to repair a major defect, before the car owner could seek a refund.
  • Being designated by the Federal Trade Commission to represent the public interest in the "Regulatory Negotiation" with the auto industry over whether state lemon laws would be overridden by a federal law that would require mandatory pre-dispute arbitration that would be binding on the consumer. The CARS Foundation played a major role in opposing federal preemption and mandatory pre-dispute arbitration.
  • Spearheading promulgation of the following federal motor vehicle safety standards:
    • A Federal Rule issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that requires auto manufacturers to provide notice in vehicle owners' manuals informing consumers that if they believe that their vehicle has a safety defect, they should report the defect to NHTSA, with contact information for the agency. This rule, which was opposed by auto manufacturers, contributed to a major increase in reporting of safety defects, and helped spur recalls of hazardous vehicles with serious safety defects.
    • A Federal Rule that requires auto manufacturers to provide height-adjusters for seat belts, so that people riding in cars can easily raise or lower the shoulder harnesses, so that they fit properly. This is especially important for children and other smaller individuals, who were being severely injured due to ill-fitting seat belts. Before the Rule was issued, this technology had been available only in high-cost luxury cars.
  • Playing a very active, central role in gaining promulgation of the federal rule to require air bags in all passenger cars, including in lower-cost economy vehicles.
  • Successfully boycotting Peugeot, which year after year had the worst crash-test results, actively opposed air bags, and opted to install a faulty "automatic seat belt" system in lieu of air bags – at a time when Peugeot predicted it would exponentially increase its US market penetration. Instead, Peugeot ended up exiting the US marketplace.
  • Joining with other auto safety organizations in order to improve air bag safety, require side air bags, and win other auto safety advances.
  • Testifying before Congress in favor of requiring auto manufacturers to install air bags.
  • Organizing victims, survivors, and family members of victims to speak out in support of auto safety improvements.
  • Providing assistance to individual victims of unsafe vehicles and predatory auto sales and lending practices.
  • Working to preserve access to justice, particularly for low-income consumers, minorities, women, and members of the Armed Forces and their families.
Current priorities include:
  • Working to protect low and moderate-income consumers and used car buyers, their families, and the motoring public from hazardous recalled used cars with deadly safety defects.
  • Accelerating replacement of America's aging, high-polluting vehicle fleet with newer, safer, more fuel-efficient / zero emission vehicles.
  • Improving access to justice that is currently being denied due to the imposition of mandatory binding pre-dispute arbitration, denying American citizens of their Constitutional rights under the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
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Our Mission
The CARS Foundation is a non-profit,
tax-exempt organization founded in 1979
that prevents motor vehicle-related fatalities,
injuries, and economic losses through
education, outreach, aid to victims,
and related activities.


Avoid Deadly Safety Defects
ALWAYS check for safety recalls before you buy.

Regularly updated safety recall data is free,
at the website for the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If the recall repair hasn't been done,
don't buy that car!!
CarMax advertises its vehicles passed
a 125-point inspection.

But FAILS to fix deadly safety recall defects.

Help save precious lives.

Spread the word:

Take Action
Over 117,000 people have signed
CARS' petition on
calling on CarMax to stop
selling hazardous recalled cars
with deadly safety defects.
But they keep endangering precious
lives. This has to stop!

Sign CARS' petition:
Tell CarMax to stop selling unsafe,
recalled cars to consumers!

CarMax sells cars with
deadly safety recall defects.
ABC's 20/20 went undercover and caught
CarMax up to their sneaky tricks.
More than 730,000 viewers have watched this video clip on CARS' YouTube channel
Help save lives -- share the link!

Shopping for a safe, reliable used car?
Buying used cars from car dealers is extremely risky. A bad car deal can ruin your life, or even kill you and your family. So why even go there?

Here are 12 easy tips from pro-consumer experts for how to avoid a lot of hassles, save a ton of money, and get a safe, reliable used car. All without having to give your hard-earned cash to a greedy car dealer.

Did a dealer sell you an unsafe, recalled car?
We want to hear your story.
Contact The CARS Foundation

Please Donate to CARS