Every year, there are hundreds of safety recalls involving motor vehicles. Yet many people never make the required repairs, even though they are free. They may not know their vehicles are subject to recalls because the auto maker’s communication was insufficient. They may receive a recall notice but not realize how important it is to get the repair.
Every safety recall is important. A safety recall indicates a problem with the vehicle or its equipment that could cause injuries or fatalities. In some cases, injuries or deaths have already been reported. Don’t risk your safety by putting off a free repair.
In 2019, 966 safety recalls were issued in the U.S. that affected over 53 million vehicles and auto parts. Consider these high-profile examples:
- Tens of millions of Takata brand air bags continued to be subject to recall. This was the largest recall in U.S. history, affecting a wide variety of auto makers. The defective air bags can corrode and then break when deployed, allowing broken bits to shoot through the passenger compartment like shrapnel.
- Over 1.7 million jack stands by Harbor Freight were recalled because they may collapse and injure people who are near or underneath the vehicle.
- Over 2.1 million Denso fuel pumps were recalled because they can fail. This could stall your car and cause a crash.
Don’t let recall fatigue get in the way of repairs
With hundreds of recalls every year, some people simply feel discouraged or become numb to the danger. Don’t let this happen to you. Safety recalls are only issued in situations where the car or part could fail and cause injury or death. You can’t afford to ignore that, even if you’ve experienced other recalls on your vehicle.
Check for auto recalls online
We’ve all done it. You get a notice in the mail and set it aside, unsure of how to proceed. You may wonder, is this a safety recall? You may ask, how urgent is it? That notice you set aside gets ignored until you don’t remember even receiving it.
If you’re not sure whether your vehicle is subject to a recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to help. It has created an online lookup tool, an app, and an email alert service to help consumers keep track of safety recalls related to their vehicles.
To use NHTSA’s recalls lookup tool, you simply need to obtain your vehicle identification number, or VIN. Your VIN is often on your car title, registration, and/or insurance documents. It is also available in several places on your vehicle itself. Check inside the driver’s side door or at the base of the windshield on the driver’s side. It has 17 characters. Enter your VIN into the tool and it will tell you what open recalls are affecting your car.
NHTSA’s SaferCar app and email alert system also use your car’s VIN. These tools have the ability to save your VIN and alert you when new recalls occur.
Noticed a possible defect?
The vehicle recall system relies on consumers to report problems to their car maker and, ideally, to NHTSA. If you think your car has a safety defect, check for a recall using the online recalls lookup tool described above. If there is no recall for the issue, call 888-327-4236, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or contact NHTSA online. Remember, recalled parts and vehicles get free repairs.