December 2, 2022

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Up to 50 million vehicles are publicly recalled on the road. Thousands of Fords, Nissans, Hyundais and Hondas were recently added to the NHTSA list. Click or click here to check if your model is affected.

Maybe the manufacturer found out that a part on a particular model was wearing out faster than expected and decided to replace it for everyone. Defective or outdated software can cause major problems. Sometimes the problem is more pressing, such as the Takata airbag recall that began in 2013.

If you have a car, this article is for you. I’ll show you how to go online to find out if your vehicle needs a recall, and get email notifications of future recalls. You should also share this valuable intelligence with your family and friends.

This March 24, 2021 file photo shows a sign near the entrance to the General Motors assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri. Up to 50 million vehicles are publicly recalled on the road. Thousands of Fords, Nissans, Hyundais and Hondas were recently added to the NHTSA list.
(Associated Press)

1. Find the VIN of your car

The first step is to find your vehicle’s 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN for short.

Most vehicles can find the VIN by standing outside the front windshield and looking down at the driver’s side corner below the dashboard. Might be a little ugly, so look carefully. Some cars also have it printed on a badge on the driver’s side door frame.

If you can’t find your car’s VIN, check your vehicle ownership or registration information, or check your insurance documents.

By the way, it’s wise to take a picture of your car VIN so you can always take it with you. Tap or click for 9 photos you should always have on your phone.

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2. Update your registration

Make sure your car manufacturer can reach you. This means keeping your registration up to date and making sure your current address is on file. Yes, you may learn of a serious recall via a letter in the mail.

Your first stop is to check your vehicle. Check the registration sticker on the corner of your license plate to make sure the year marked is up to date. You can also visit your state Department of Motor Vehicles website to see if you need to pay any fees or pass an emissions test to keep your paperwork up to date.

female mechanic

More useful resources: 10 Tech Customer Service Phone Numbers and Secret Ways to Know Wait Times

3. Use the NHTSA Recall Check Tool

After you get your VIN, go to NHTSA recall inquiry page. Enter your VIN in the search field provided and the results will display the number and type of safety recalls that apply to your specific vehicle. (If you don’t have a VIN, try searching for the year, make, and model of your car.)

The search tool includes unrepaired vehicle safety recalls for the past 15 calendar years. You’ll also see vehicle safety recalls from major light vehicle manufacturers, motorcycle manufacturers, and some medium/heavy-duty truck manufacturers.

Assuming you get no results; good news! Your vehicle is not part of the current recall.

Pro tip: It’s also a good idea to search for the VIN when buying a used car to see if there are any safety issues you need to deal with after taking ownership.

In addition to car recalls, NHTSA’s website also checks for recalls of auto parts such as car seats, tires and other auto-related equipment.

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4. Be proactive

Just because your vehicle isn’t currently recalled doesn’t mean it won’t be recalled in the future. to this end, NHTSA also provides an email notification system Receive alerts about recalls.

To sign up, enter your email address and select up to five models, makes and years. You can also choose to see a weekly overview of all vehicle recalls and whether to receive alerts about tire or car seat recalls.

The NHTSA website is also a great place to compare vehicle safety ratings, check tires, and find out how easy a car seat is to use. Browse the ratings page here.

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5. Register with Carfax

Carfax compiles a variety of records for your vehicle, including accident reports, service schedules and recall alerts. The best part is, it’s free.

To set up an account, visit Do not click “Get CARFAX Report”. This will prompt you to pay for a full vehicle report, which is not what you want.

Instead, click “Sign Up” in the upper right corner and create an account. Add your vehicle by searching for your VIN or license plate.

Once you sign up, you’ll get a monthly report with your vehicle’s public recalls, its value, and any due service.

What to do if your vehicle is part of a recall

Where would you take your car if it was part of the recall? Recall service work is usually done at your car dealership. Call them to schedule an appointment. Having a recall number is convenient, but they can also look up recall information through their records.

A recall may involve potentially dangerous issues, so schedule your car service as soon as possible. Dealers usually offer shuttle services. You can drop off and have them pick you up when they are ready. Your dealer can even arrange a tow truck if the recall is due to a serious problem.

Remember, the dealer will do all repairs to your car due to the recall free of charge. This includes parts and software.

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