Has your car ever been recalled? New tool allows easy VIN lookup

Another week, another auto recall. If you feel like every car in the world was recalled last year, your fears aren’t far from reality. Here’s the 2014 recall tally, according to Auto News:

The final tally of 2014’s damages came in from federal regulators this month, showing that automakers sent out some 64 million recall notices in the United States.

That was more than double the previous calendar-year record of 30.8 million, set in 2004.

And which maker was the industry’s biggest offender?

Of those 64 million, nearly 27 million came from GM. That’s a 3,466 percent increase from GM’s total in 2013.

Put another way: In one year, GM recalled the equivalent of every single vehicle it sold from mid-September 2005 through the end of 2014.

How can anyone keep up? Owners may not always know whether or not their vehicle was ever recalled or whether it still needs to be repaired.

Good news – now there’s a way. Use the the NHTSA’s VIN lookup tool to see if your car was ever recalled in the last 15 years.

NHTSA’s new search tool lets you:

  • Enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if a specific vehicle has not been repaired as part of a safety recall in the last 15 years
  • Directly access the recalls databases of major vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers
  • Get the relevant recall information so you can contact the manufacturer or dealer about the repair if it was part of a safety recall

It’s pretty comprehensive but there are some things it may not cover – check the page to see what these are.

Many recalls are for minor defects and nuisances but some are safety related. That’s why some legislators are trying to pass laws barring car registration until recalls are completed. Right now, it’s still legal to sell a car that was recalled but not fixed.

“The lawmakers said 65 percent of recalled vehicles are repaired within 18 months. About 46 million cars with unfixed flaws were on the road at the end of 2014, and as many 5 million changing owners during the year, according to Carfax Inc., which tracks vehicle sales and accident histories.”

For more info on vehicle recalls, see SaferCar.gov and Recalls.gov