In the United States this year, recalls are coming faster than Kim Kardashian selfies – about 40 million thus far, and 70 million in the last two years – and that can make it tough to know if your car, truck or SUV is involved in one.
After suffering through some criticism regarding the difficulty in determining is a vehicle is subject to recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today unveiled its new online search tool that allows the public to easily discover if they’re vehicle needs to take a trip to the dealer.
Those wanting to know can simply go to www.safercar.gov/vinlookup and enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). All major light vehicle and motorcycle brands can be searched.
“Safety is our highest priority, and an informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in ensuring recalled vehicles are repaired,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “Starting today car owners, shoppers, and renters can find out if a specific vehicle has a safety defect that needs to be fixed – using our free online tool.”
Determining whether there is a recall that consumers need to take action on is easy. After entering the VIN number into the field, results will appear if the consumer has an open recall on their vehicle, and if there are none, owners will see “No Open Recalls.”
Not only is the tool available at NHTSA’s website, automakers are required to make the same type of tool available on their websites for their vehicles.
“This new tool is a significant step and enables owners to accurately find recall information on their vehicle,” said General Motors in a statement. “We will actively work to upload GM product VINs into the database in a timely manner. We also provide GM customers the ability to find more information on GM specific recalls by entering their VIN on our site, recalls.gm.com. Whether through the NHTSA site or our own, we want vehicle owners to easily find the information they need.”
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However, a mid-morning search by TheDetroitBureau revealed only a few – General Motors, Nissan and Kia – had deployed the tool on their websites that were conspicuous. Otherwise, owners should scour the bottom of the first page of automaker websites to find the link. In some case, it may require a couple of clicks to get to the screen where the VIN is entered.
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For some automakers, the move make the information available required very little effort. Ford’s maintained an online database and tool since 2002 with searches going back to 1986, said Kelli Felker, Ford spokesperson.
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Ford needed to make a few changes to meet the new standards, adding a longer description, consequences, how to fix the problem and the status of the parts needed to complete the repair.