Vehicle VIN Recall Check
Some cars may have problems that result in malfunction or accident. For instance, a car may have wiring system issues that can cause loss of lighting or a fire. As a car owner or a buyer you must want to know if a safety recall has been issued for a car. You need to do a VIN recall check. At VinCheck.info, this feature is integrated into the comprehensive free VIN check tool.
More than 390 million vehicles have been recalled to correct safety issues since the enactment of the US National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (now re-codified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301). These recalls cover cars, trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and mopeds. A total of 154 tires, motor vehicle equipment and child safety seats have also been recalled.
Why do I need the VIN to do a recall lookup?
Every vehicle completed in the production line is assigned a 17-digit alphanumeric combination called the VIN or vehicle identification number. It is the most reliable way to get vehicle information because it helps track the vehicle from production through registration, insurance, most transactions and services, and even safety recalls. Some of these vehicles may have safety defects reported by the owner or discovered by the manufacturer. Vehicles covered by the recall are identified via the VIN.
Where can I find my VIN?
You can also find the VIN on the vehicle’s documents:
- registration card
- vehicle title
- Insurance card
- owner’s manual
What is a safety recall?
A safety recall is issued when the manufacturer or the NHTSA finds that the vehicle or equipment:
- has safety-related defects
- fails to meet minimum safety standards set by the NHTSA
The safety standards are instituted to protect the public from unreasonable risk of accidents that may happen as a result of design, construction, or operation of the automobile. Safety recalls are primarily intended to fix known problems with vehicles in an effort to keep you safe on the road.
What are the differences between recalls that are safety-related versus not safety-related?
Technically, the NHTSA has no jurisdiction over defects that are not safety related. However, the agency reviews all reports to screen any complaint that points to a potential safety defect involving groups of motor vehicles or vehicle equipment. There is no established number of reports that must be filed before NHTSA investigates an issue.
when the motor vehicle or its equipment poses a risk to vehicle safety; may apply to a group of vehicles with a similar design, manufacturer, or equipment
Non-Safety Related Recalls
usually cover defects that are related to components on the vehicle
How is a safety recall determined?
Basically, safety-related flaws in either the vehicle or equipment may compel the manufacturer to conduct a safety recall and the process starts in one of these two ways:
A voluntary recall is initiated by the manufacturer is based on its own investigations. This happens when they discover a safety defect and decide to correct it to prevent future problems or they find a vehicle that is not compliant with a known federal safety standard.
The NHTSA sets vehicle safety standards to protect consumers. Manufacturers are required to follow these standards. Most decisions to conduct a recall and remedy a safety defect are made voluntarily by manufacturers prior to any involvement by NHTSA.
A mandatory recall is usually initiated by the consumer who files some complaints about a defect.
- Consumers report the problem and all complaints are logged into the NHTSA’s public database without any personal information about the complainants. At some point, the NHTSA decides that it has received enough complaints from different people on the same issue to justify conducting an investigation.
- NHTSA conducts an investigation after reviewing all complaints or petitions regarding the need for a safety investigation. This action opens an investigation which will be then closed only after informing the automaker about the recall recommendations or after they have concluded that they cannot find any safety defects.
- The manufacturer notifies the NHTSA and owners about their recall decision. A safety recall is issued after the NHTSA has concluded that a vehicle or any of the vehicle’s equipment (like car seats, tires and wheels) poses a safety risk or has failed to meet minimum safety standards. In some cases, the manufacturer may release a refund or even re-purchase the vehicle.
- NHTSA checks each safety recall to ensure that the manufacturer will provide free, effective, and safe remedies to the affected vehicle owners as per the Safety Act and Federal regulations.
- Owners follow any provisional safety measures outlined by the manufacturer and contact the local car dealership for free repairs or replacements.
What does a recall disclosure say?
Basically, the manufacturer’s announcement of a safety recall includes the description of the defect and how it impacts the safe use of the vehicle. It also mentions the vehicles covered by the recall (model and model year) and the recommended remedies.
The recall letter or the recall notification directly sent to the vehicle owner will include: description of the defect,
- any risks or hazards possible due to the problem (including any possible injuries, warning signs)
- how the vehicle manufacturer plans to resolve the trouble when the repair will be available
- estimate on how long it will take to complete the repair, and your next steps
How will I find out about a recall?
VIN recall Lookup
Using the VIN, you can check if a vehicle is the subject of a recall. This tool is available in different settings for pro-active consumers especially vehicle owners and buyers. This tool is available in government-run websites like that of the NHTSA as well as in vehicle research websites like VinCheck.info which provides a free VIN recall lookup as part of its comprehensive free VIN check
Public disclosure by manufacturer or via national news
You may find safety recalls announced:
- through national news on TV and print media
- on the manufacturer’s website
- by NHTSA
- other websites like consumerreports.org or safercar.gov.
Notice via first-class mail from the car manufacturer
The notice, sent within 60-days of the recall announcement, will have a “Safety Recall Notice” and federal logos printed on the label. It will explain the potential safety hazards of the defect, when and how to avail of the remedies.
Vehicle Safety Recall Frequently Asked Questions
Automakers track down owners of recalled vehicles based on their own records of vehicle buyers or owners and vehicle registration information from states. They inform owners about the defect and provide the needed repair, replace, or buy back the vehicle priced with a “reasonable allowance for depreciation.”
Recall notices may not be able to reach the owner (first, second or third) who has changed addresses without notifying the local registry of motor vehicles. If a recall includes specific vehicles, rather than every vehicle within a given model year, you may not receive a notification even if you hear about a recall.
Here are some of the ways you can ensure you get a safety recall notice. Update your address on the state’s vehicle registration records every time you change address. Register your vehicle with the manufacturer as soon as you purchase it. Subscribe to email safety recall notifications from NHTSA.
According to Consumer Reports, here’s what you should include in your complaint:
Information about the owner and the vehicle
- Your name and contact information
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Year, make, and model of the car
- Relevant documentation available (such as maintenance records, photos, and/or a police report)
- Mileage on your car
- Whether you bought your car new or used
Description of the problem
- Description of how you think the car failed to perform
- What you did and how the car responded (in chronological order)
- Whether the event resulted in any damage to the vehicle or injuries to occupants of your vehicle or others
- If the event included a crash, indicate whether airbags deployed
- Steps taken to isolate the problem
- Corroborating evidence (findings in a police report or mechanic’s statement of work needed)
- When and how was the problem discovered or how did it occur
- Mention any aftermarket equipment that may be relevant to the incident