Manufacturing or design defects in vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries or deaths. For instance, many recalled vehicles contain Takata’s airbag inflators, which are associated with multiple deaths and catastrophic injuries. The inflators can explode and send metal shrapnel flying into the cabins of vehicles. This is only one example that highlights the importance of knowing whether your vehicle is under recall.
A recent Carfax study found that 63 million vehicles with safety defects are being driven on roads across the country. Although automakers are required by law to inform their customers of recalls, there are several reasons why owners may not receive repairs. It can take months to get a vehicle with a Takata airbag fixed. Takata and multiple automakers have been chastised for not doing enough to facilitate more repairs for vehicles affected by the recall.
Vehicle owners may also not receive repairs because they are unaware that recalls have been issued. For whatever reason, they simply did not receive crucial recall notices from their auto manufacturers. Our blog is going to walk you through how to sign up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (also called NHTSA) and how to check the recall status of your vehicle online.
How to Check the Recall Status of Your Vehicle
To check the recall status of your vehicle, you will first need to grab your vehicle identification number. This is also called the “VIN.” Many auto insurance policy cards display this number. It may also be found on insurance documents, your vehicle’s title or on auto shop repair records. If all else fails, you can also check the driver’s side dashboard.
Once you have the VIN, it’s time to visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls. After arriving at the website, type your VIN into the search feature at the top of the page. Search results could inform you of any open recalls associated with your vehicle. However, it may also say “zero recalls are associated with this VIN.”
This search tool covers vehicle safety recalls that are incomplete. It may also display vehicle recalls conducted over the past 15 years. Recalls for light automobiles (for example, if you own an ATV or motorcycle) may also be included. Search results will not cover recalls from more than 15 years ago or completed recalls. International vehicles and very recently announced recalls may also be excluded from the search results.
Even if the website informed you that your vehicle has no open recalls, you should still take action to register your vehicle with NHTSA’s website. Your vehicle could always be recalled later. If you register with NHTSA, you could receive an email notification for future recalls.
What Can I Do if My Vehicle is Under Recall?
If you discover that your vehicle has an unrepaired recall, then it is important to contact your dealership to schedule an appointment for repairs. Automakers are required by federal law to fix recalls at no cost. You could also inquire about a rental vehicle if the dealership does not have the parts to conduct repairs.
If you or a loved one were harmed by a defective auto part, then you should speak with an attorney to discuss legal options. It may be possible to hold the auto manufacturer or other parties accountable for injuries or deaths caused by defects.
Walsh Woodard, LLC has an extensive history of helping individuals who were harmed by the negligent actions of others. To speak with one of our Hartford product liability lawyers, you may call (860) 785-2011 or describe your situation by filling out our online case review form.