Carhappen much more often than you may realize, and the truth is, your car could be a part of it at any time. Whether you bought a new or used car, or have owned it for months or years, pending recalls always occur ̵
If you’re wondering if your vehicle is part of a recall, read on to follow the easy steps to verify.
1. Find your VIN
Your unique 17-character Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, can be found in a number of places on your vehicle. Think of it as your vehicle’s serial number. By law, every vehicle built since 1981 has its VIN printed behind the lower corner on the driver’s side of the windshield, as pictured above. You can also find your VIN on your vehicle registration or insurance card, or on a placard on the driver’s door jamb.
If you’d rather not type all those letters and numbers, there are a number of third-party apps available for both iOS and Android that can use your smartphone to scan your vehicle’s barcode (often on the windshield or in a door jamb) that automatically can search for recall information. Many of these apps will also tell you all about your specific vehicle’s specifications and service history.
2. Check NHTSA .’s Database
The U.S. government works with automakers to report, track, and share recalls through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Your first step is to check out the federal agency’s recall page at nhtsa.gov/recalls and enter your VIN. If nothing comes, you’re golden. If there are open recalls, skip to our third and final step.
You can also use NHTSA’s site to check vehicle-related products, including car seats, tires, or auxiliary equipment, as well as motorcycle and RV recalls.
Many automakers also have their own recall portals online and toll free numbers.
3. Schedule service with your dealer
Recall work can be carried out at your local dealer, simply by making an appointment. Some recalls are more urgent than others, but either way, you shouldn’t wait for this important work to be completed. In some cases, the dealer may even arrange for your vehicle to be towed if the matter is particularly serious. Regardless of the type or extent of the recall, all repair work will be performed at no cost to you, the owner.
For even more peace of mind, you can receive email alerts from NHTSA by signing up at nhtsa.gov/alerts.
More Roadshow Guides