From child safety seats to air bag inflators, it seems like there’s some type of recall in the news every few months. But while it may be an all-too-common headline these days, don’t brush it off. It’s imperative to follow up immediately if your car has been affected by a recall.
Only you can protect your family or yourself from defective equipment that could pose a threat to your safety. More than 300 people have been injured or killed by defective air bag inflators, spurring the largest and most complex vehicle recall in U.S. history and affecting nearly 70 million vehicles from 19 automakers.
Getting these unsafe vehicles off the road is integral to improving safety and saving lives.
A vehicle safety recall is just that – an effort to take unsafe vehicles or vehicle parts off the road. A manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determines that a vehicle or piece of equipment has a safety-related defect or does not comply with federal standards. In 2018 alone, there were over 29 million vehicles recalled and more than 6 million tires, child passenger seats, and other pieces of equipment recalled.
How to check for recalls
If your vehicle is currently under recall, you should receive a notice in the mail from your vehicle’s manufacturer. If you’re worried about missing a notice, you can also stay up to date on recalls by signing up for notification emails from NHTSA.
You don’t need to wait for a notification to find out if your vehicle is under recall. Use your vehicle identification number (VIN) and visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls to see if your vehicle is under recall. You can also use NHTSA’s website to check on vehicle-related products, such as car seats, tires, or other equipment.
Not sure where your VIN is? Look on the lower left of your vehicle’s windshield for your vehicle’s unique 17-character VIN.
If your vehicle is under recall, follow any interim safety guidance provided by the manufacturer and contact your local dealership to fix the recalled part for free. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or – in rare cases – repurchasing the vehicle.
Report problems for investigation
If you think your vehicle or equipment could have a safety defect, reporting it to NHTSA is important. If the agency receives similar reports from a number of people about the same product, this could indicate the existence of a safety-related defect that would warrant an investigation.
Suspect a safety defect in your car? You can report it to NHTSA one of two easy ways:
Call NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393 (toll-free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).
Driver reports fuel NHTSA’s work. That’s why we’re committed to sharing more information with you about how to report recalls.
NHTSA recommends checking your VIN to see if your vehicle is under any safety recall twice a year when changing the clocks for daylight saving time.
Stay in touch with NHTSA and keep an eye on your mailbox for direct alerts. And if your vehicle is under recall, get it fixed for free as soon as you can. With safer drivers and safer cars, we’ll have safer roads – and your efforts can help save lives.
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It’s the perfect time to remind ourselves to plan ahead for the ones we love.