How to Find Out If Your Car Was Recalled
You’ve probably noticed – car recalls are in the news lately, in a big way. From faulty ignitions to defective airbags, unsafe vehicles are making headlines. With the soaring number of recalls this year, how can you confirm you’re driving a safe vehicle? The U.S. Department of Transportation released a free online search tool that checks to see if your car was recalled using your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This new tool provides car owners with a fast and simple way to identify an uncompleted recall.
Reading Your Results
Upon entering your VIN, you’ll see one of three results:
- Recall INCOMPLETE – this means there’s an “open” recall on your vehicle and you’re eligible for a repair or replacement of your vehicle or equipment free of charge by your manufacturer.
- Recall INCOMPLETE. Remedy Not Yet Available – this means there’s an incomplete or “open” recall on your car, but the manufacturer isn’t ready to provide a solution.
- Number of Open Recalls: 0 – either there are no open recalls on your vehicle or you have already had your car fixed.
Don’t know where to find your VIN? Check out the image below provided by Mark’s Body Shop with four common places to find your vehicle identification number, and then click here to see if your car was recalled.
A Year for Recalls
As of October, there have been 220 reported model recalls, nearly as many as 2004 which holds the record with 224 recalls. What’s more concerning than the number of recalls, however is the amount of cars and light truck being recalled. This year alone, 61 million passenger vehicles were subject to recall, more than doubling the 30 million that were recalled in 2004.
What’s causing these massive numbers? Researchers indicate the rise in recalled vehicles is due to government pressure on automakers to take action, the media’s determination to raise awareness, and the growing use of common parts across different makes and models.
Also, the advancements in the vehicles themselves play a huge role. The addition of outsourced technology and software, manufactured outside of the car companies, is said to raise the number of recalls, but not necessarily the urgency of the matter.
Should You Be Worried?
A rise in numbers isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The push on manufacturers by government to recall a vehicle before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) takes action has seen a lot of good results. In the past, many car companies kept quiet about minor issues that might cost them big time in recalls. After Toyota was fined $1.2 billion dollars for hiding safety defects and the NHTSA made a push to increase the maximum fine by $265 million, manufacturers responded by recalling older models due to minor issues in order to avoid a bigger fine in the long run.
The increase in recalls for 2014 shouldn’t cause you to worry. Check your VIN at SafeCars.Gov and see if your car was recalled and remember to check it on a regular basis. If you have any questions on manufacturer recalls, give us a call at 828-569-1275.