Recalls: Things You Need To Know

Credit: VIN & Recalls/NHTSA
I addressed this on the Car Pro Radio show last Saturday and in the newsletter after another Takata airbag death.

We put recall info on our website�s recall section and in the newsletter every week, but I am not sure how many people pay close attention to it.

Often, recalls are for a certain vehicle, but only built during a specific timeframe. At other times, it is a vehicle built at a certain assembly plant. Although you hear of a recall of a certain year that matches yours, your vehicle may not be part of it.

Especially after the huge Takata recall, I liken it to walking through a parking lot and hearing the sound of a car alarm going off. You have become so accustomed to that sound-you don�t even look around to see if the car was actually broken into. Like the horn blowing, Americans have gotten a ho-hum attitude about vehicle recalls, and recalls in general.

This is not new, but has gotten worse over the past decade. I have a vivid memory of being the Ford Dealer Council Chairman twenty years ago at the climax of the Ford Explorer/Firestone tire debacle. This was a bad situation with people dying almost daily due to tire blowouts and their vehicles rolling over. 340 people died and it captivated your nightly news.

Ultimately, the government ruled it was the tires, but prior to that Ford decided to recall all the Firestone tires itself to help save lives. Owners of Explorers were notified to take their vehicle to the nearest Ford dealership and receive a free set of 5 brand new tires at no charge, including mounting and balancing. Yes, brand new, name-brand tires for free, and would you believe I had hundreds of people who never brought their vehicles in? We called, we wrote, we sent certified letters, we used scare tactics, nothing worked. All those people chose to continue to drive on tires that could kill them.

If you are not sure whether your car may have an unfixed recall, get your Vehicle ID number and call your closest dealer, they can tell you quickly if there are any open recalls. Most recalls are simple and easy and always done at no charge. Some recalls, left unfixed, can be the difference between life and death and should not be ignored.

Or, you can put your VIN into the NHTSA website, they are very good about staying up to date. The website is

Another great tool is the NHTSA�s recently redesigned Safer Car app. It allows users to search for and save their vehicle�s VIN number, as well as save car seats, equipment, and tires info in a virtual garage on their smartphone. The app automatically checks, in the background, whether a recall is issued and then alerts users when a recall occurs. For more details on the redesigned SaferCar app visit

Click below for the CarProUSA Recall section, updated weekly.

Click below for the CarProUSA Takata Airbag Guide with updated recall completion rates.