You probably “recall” that some big names in automotive manufactures have recently taken major hits to their pocketbooks — and reputations — because of recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalled more than 51 million vehicles in 2015, down from the all-time recall record of 64 million vehicles, set in 2014. Some of these recalls were connected with injuries or fatalities.
Vehicle recall search tool
Just to be safe, check for yourself. NHTSA’s new search tool lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to learn if your vehicle has been a part of a safety recall within the last 15 years. If your car is recalled, take it to a dealer that handles your car’s model. You will not be charged for repairs per the Highway Safety Act of 1970.
When is a vehicle recalled?
Vehicles are recalled by the manufacturer when installed equipment does not comply with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard and the vehicle poses a risk to the safety of drivers and/or passengers. Safety-related defects include critical vehicle components that break, fall apart, or separate from the vehicle and cause potential loss of vehicle control or injury to persons inside or outside the vehicle, including:
• Fuel system
• Windshield wipers
• Wiring system
• Air bags
• Seats and seatbelts
New recalls pop up every day. If you are the first owner of a recalled vehicle, the manufacturer may have your contact information and will contact you. But because contact is made with the registered owner at the time of the recall, you can’t rely solely on the manufacturer to keep you informed — especially if you are not the vehicle’s first owner.