Recalls are a dime a dozen. Sometimes recalls are issued in small batches, like when Volkswagen recalled just 250 cars earlier this year, and sometimes they’re huge, like when Takata had 35-40 Million inflators recalled by more than a half-dozen different manufacturers including Honda, Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles. While quality control on today’s cars are, for the most part, better than vehicles of the past, no company is perfect and recalls happen. This ultimately rases one big question; “How do I know if my car was recalled?” Fortunatley, theres many ways to check.
If the manufacturer of your vehicle has a current address for you, they can send you recall info right to your mailbox. This isn’t the most reliable source, however, as mail delivery can be inconsistent, and you even getting a recall letter is entirely dependent on the manufacturer having a valid address for you.
Major recalls, Such as the Takata Airbag recall, usually make national news, and recalls that effect certain geographical areas, like recalls for salt corrosion issues, usually make local news. Again, this isn’t the most reliable method since some recalls are small in nature, you may not see a recall for your vehicle in the news.
Automotive News Outlets
Unlike nightly news, magazines and websites based around the automotive industry rely on recall information to reel in readers. Some popular ones include Motor Trend, www.autonews.com, and Car and Driver. Again, these sites and mags may not run info on small batch recalls, but can be earlier in reporting than non-automotive focused sources.
The National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration, or NHTSA, has an option on their site for checking if your vehicle has been recalled. You can check most accuratley by entering your vehicle’s 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) which can be found under the windshield, on the door or door jam, and on your registration card. There’s also some other cool tools there like a tire-brand safety checker. This is ususally the best source because it finds recalls based on your exact vehilce thanks to the VIN tool.
Having your vehicle recalled is a scary thing to have happen. After all, if a vehicle is recalled for a defect, the issue is most likely important. Recalls happen all the time for various reasons. Though recalls themselves are common, what to do when the vehicle is recalled is not commonly discussed.
Most car companies will send mail to you if they have your address, which they should have if you bought your car from a car dealer (this usually excludes dealerships who focus on used cars.)
2. You are usually required to bring the vehicle to the dealership from where it was originally sold.
Sadly, your local independent auto shop cannot do recall repairs, usually due to licensing or legal reasons. The good news is, however, a recall is free if the recall was issued by the manufacturer. For example, if a Toyota is recalled, the repair is usually done at the Toyota dealership who sold it new, regardless of who currently owns it. If you cannot get to that specific dealership, you should attempt to go to your local dealer.
3. If you have the repair done, you should keep the records.
It is incredibly important you keep the records of a recall repair. If something should happen to the vehicle or if you try and resell it, proof that the job has been done is great to have.
If your vehicle ever gets recalled, you can rest easy, you now know everything there is to know about recalls.