How to Check if Your Car or Motorcycle is Subject to Recall

Thousands of cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles are recalled every year because of mechanical errors and defective designs. Right now, vehicle recalls are only issued directly to vehicle owners through the postal mail. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently proposing a rule to require a form of electronic delivery (email, text messages, in-vehicle displays, etc.) for all recalls.

Until this rule becomes law, vehicle owners must hope the manufacturer has their correct address on file to learn about recalls. The good news is there are several other ways to check if your vehicle is under a recall without having to worry about missed recall letters. By using your VIN or your car's make and model you can search the NHTSA's databases.

How do I use my VIN to check if my car is under a recall?

The Vehicle Identification Number or VIN is a unique string of numbers and letters that identifies your car out of the millions of others produced each year. The NHTSA's Safercar.gov website has the latest news about recalls and provides a simple database search feature. You can also download the Safercar.gov recall app.

When you search for recalls by VIN, the site gives you a list of recalls in which your vehicle is included that have not yet been completed. It also includes recall history for the past 15 years, though it does not show if you completed those recalls.

How can I search for a recall if I don't know my VIN?

If you don't want to search by VIN, you can also perform a more general search with the vehicle type database.

To use recalls.gov you need to know the:

  • Model
  • Model year
  • Make

 

Once you have inputted this information, the site will generate lists of all potentially applicable recalls. Note that not all of these recalls will apply to your vehicle, as some recalls only affect certain VINs. To double check if a recall affects your vehicle, search by VIN or call your dealership to check on your recall status.

What happens if my vehicle is under a recall?

If your vehicle is under a recall, contact a local dealership immediately to schedule your free repair. Unfortunately, recalls are sometimes only issued after several drivers experience the dangerous defect.

If your vehicle malfunctions and causes an accident, even if there is no active recall, then you are entitled to damages from the manufacturer who produced the defective vehicle. Max Meyers Law will help you get the right inspections of your vehicle to identify the defect and hold the automaker liable. He works with industry experts to evaluate your accident cause and pinpoint the defective design or part that led to your injuries.

For help with holding an automaker accountable for a dangerous vehicle part or design, contact Max Meyers Law. Fill out our online contact form or call at 425-242-5595 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your right to recovery after an accident caused by a defective vehicle.

Max Meyers
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.