By Jamie Haroutunian Question: I bought a 3-year-old used car. After I drove it for a year, the wheel basically fell off the car. I have a quote of $2,500 to fix the wheel and the resulting damage to the car's body. What are my options?

Answer: Before digging into your pocket, check the recall history for your car's make and model. You may find a recall for wheel-related deficiencies -- which went ignored by the car's former owner. The cost for your repairs may be covered.

Follow these steps:

1. Search recall history online: With a few clicks on any auto manufacturer's website, you will find a search screen. Enter your car's VIN number (found on your car's registration). Here you will find detailed information about all recalls affecting your vehicle. A Carfax report will also provide recall history.

2. Call manufacturer: Work out details of your repairs and confirm they are covered under the recall terms.

3. Visit your dealer's repair shop, or possibly even a private repair shop.

4. Don't forget to ask about temporary transportation. Recall repairs may provide coverage for loaner cars.

Attorney James Haroutunian practices real estate law, estate planning and business matters in Billerica at 630 Boston Road. Contact him with questions at 978-671-0711, or email him at