NHTSA VIN Lookup Tool Allows Owners to Check for Auto Recalls

Amid a record number of auto recalls issued so far this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that vehicle owners now have a new tool available through their website to check whether their car is affected by a recall. 

The federal auto safety regulators announced on August 20 that a new tool is available at www.safercar.gov, which allows individuals to use their vehicle identification number (VIN) to determine whether their car may be impacted by a recall or have a known safety defect.

The new NHTSA VIN search tool links to data on all major light vehicle and motorcycle brands.

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“Safety is our highest priority, and an informed consumer is one of our strongest allies to ensuring recalled vehicles are repaired,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a press release. “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.”

The NHTSA is also requiring all major light vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers to host the tool on their websites, using weekly updated data.

The agency hopes that the tool will help cut down on the number of cars that are recalled but never repaired. It will also help the agency track the completeness of recalls, as manufacturers will log which cars get repaired and regularly update the system. That way, second-hand owners, leasers of pre-owned vehicles and others will know whether a vehicle has undergone necessary repairs linked to past recalls.

This year has been a notable year for auto recalls, with the number of vehicles recalled shattering all previous records for an entire year in just the first six months.

About 40 million vehicles have been recalled so far this year, obliterating the 2004 record of 30.8 million vehicles pulled off the road.

Most of those vehicles were manufactured by General Motors, which has recalled more than 12 million vehicles for ignition switch problems alone.

Another major driver of auto recalls this year is the Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata, whose air bags reportedly inflate too violently, potentially sending deadly shrapnel throughout the passenger compartment of the vehicles, most of which are Asian manufactured vehicles. The Takata air bag recalls have affected millions of vehicles.

“Just as every single automaker should never hesitate to recall a defective vehicle, consumers should never hesitate to get their recalled vehicle fixed,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman said in the press release. “By making individual VIN searches readily available, we’re providing another service to consumers – the peace of mind knowing that the vehicle they own, or that they are thinking of buying or renting, is free of safety defects.”


  • AlexFebruary 11, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Here's the universal VIN decoder http://www.vindecoderz.com - it shows extended info plus list of factory options for some USA and EU VIN numbers.​

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