Last year, there were 966 safety recalls involving automobiles or their parts in the U.S. Those recalls affected over 53 million vehicles and equipment items. Yet “recall fatigue” and other issues sometimes prevent car owners from getting the necessary repairs or replacements, even though they’re free.
Have you gotten to all your safety recalls? Perhaps you received notice of one of these major recalls:
- Takata air bags — This was the largest recall in U.S. history, with tens of millions of air bags recalled from a wide variety of vehicles. The air bags can sometimes explode when deployed, sending shrapnel through the passenger compartment. You should get a free replacement air bag installed.
- Harbor Freight jack stands — Over 1.7 million jack stands were recalled because they could collapse, injuring those around or beneath a vehicle.
- Denso fuel pumps — Over 2.1 million fuel pumps were recalled because they can fail, resulting in a stalled engine which could cause a crash.
Those are only three of the recent safety recalls. There were hundreds more, and each one of them represents a potentially dangerous condition. Protect yourself, your family and others on the road by getting your recalled item fixed as soon as possible.
How do I know if there’s a recall on my vehicle?
Auto makers generally mail recall notices to vehicles’ registered owners. However, those recall notices can be easy to miss.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can help you stay informed about recalls affecting your vehicle in three ways:
Enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) into NHTSA’s recall lookup tool. This will pull up any open recalls on your specific vehicle. You can find your VIN in several places, such as your title, your proof of insurance card, and on the vehicle itself. For example, the VIN is printed on the frame of the driver’s side door and at the base of the windshield near the steering wheel.
- Download NHTSA’s SaferCar app, which will perform the same search automatically.
- Sign up for email alerts of future recalls by going to NHTSA.gov/Alerts.
- If you find there is an open recall on your vehicle, contact your local dealership to schedule a free repair or replacement.
What if I notice a safety defect that isn’t listed?
There is always a possibility that your car has a safety defect that hasn’t been caught yet. Auto makers and NHTSA rely on the public to notify them about these issues so that appropriate action can be taken.
If you believe your vehicle has a safety defect, you can notify NHTSA at 888-327-4236 or go to NHTSA.gov.