How do I know if my car is subject to a recall?
Last year was a record-setting year for the auto industry—and not in a good way. In 2014, automakers issued more than 800 recalls, affecting nearly 64 million vehicles. Many recalls are related to known safety issues, so please take recall notices seriously and take your car in for the necessary service. A minor fix could make a major difference in your vehicle’s safety or performance.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a current database of auto recalls. To learn if your vehicle has been recalled, simply enter the vehicle’s year, make, and model in the selection boxes at http://wwwodi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchSafetyIssues to view the search results.
You can also search using your 17-digit Vehicle Information Number. VIN plates are attached to the dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle and visible through the windshield. The VIN is also printed on a sticker inside the driver’s side door or doorframe.
What to do if you receive a recall notice
In the event of a recall, vehicle owners will receive a notice in the mail from the vehicle manufacturer or the dealer where the vehicle was purchased. Oftentimes, the official notice comes a few weeks or months after the recall was issued, so that the manufacturer has time to notify its dealers of recall procedures and ensure the availability of repair parts. The notice will provide you with recall specifics and instructions to schedule your vehicle for service. Typically, you will need to take your car to a dealership and there is no charge for the recall service.
Save repair receipts
If you have a possible defect repaired, but your vehicle hasn’t been recalled, be sure to save your receipt and other service documents. If the vehicle is later recalled for that specific problem, you may be eligible for a reimbursement for repair expenses from the automaker.
Learn more about recalls
For more information about the recall process and your rights and responsibilities as a vehicle owner, refer to the NHTSA publication Motor Vehicle Defects and Safety Recalls: What Every Vehicle Owner Should Know. You can find a copy online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/documents/MVDefectsandRecalls.pdf.
Remember, if your vehicle is recalled, you should have the necessary repairs performed as quickly as possible, as failure to act can leave you and others unnecessarily vulnerable to a known safety risk.