The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has implemented an online program known as, which stands in as a way to guide those who are looking to buy a car or already have a car that may have defects. It is the NHTSA’s main duty to look out for vehicle owners and assess whether or not they should continue driving a vehicle that may pose risks if there are open recalls on it. Now you can find out what happens if your vehicle is involved in a recall and why it is especially important to be watchful of recalls.

What You May Not Have Known…

You may wonder what recalls are and why they are so necessary for vehicle owners to be aware of. Well, for one, recalls happen when the NHTSA determines that a vehicle or vehicle equipment creates an unreasonable safety risk or doesn’t meet safety standards that have been set for it. When a recall determination is made, the manufacturer of the vehicle or item must fix the problem by repairing, replacing, or offering a refund. A safety defect applies to anything that poses a risk to motor vehicle safety and may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture. If your vehicle is recalled, the manufacturer will have to fix the issue free of charge.

So, you may ask, how will you know if there is a recall for your specific vehicle or item? First of all, the manufacturer will have to notify you if there is a safety recall by sending you a letter in the mail, so you must always make sure that your vehicle registration is up-to-date as well as your current mailing address. You could also receive e-mail notifications directly from NHTSA on your phone. You could also find out if there is a current recall on your vehicle by visiting and looking up the recalls by VIN. This is located on the lower left of your car’s windshield. Identify the 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number.

When you receive a recall notification, you should follow the safety guidance. If the recall is something extremely serious, you may be urged to stop driving your car until it can be fixed. You should take precautions seriously and contact your local dealership to have the vehicle serviced. The dealer will then fix your vehicle for free. If they refuse to fix it, you should notify the manufacturer immediately so that they can take care of the problem. It is also important to remember that, just because your vehicle is not recalled now, does not mean it cannot be recalled later. If a safety recall occurs, the manufacturer will be urged to file a public report describing the defect. In other words, you will always find out about a recall.

What Happens if I Think There is a Defect But There is no Recall? 

If you believe that your vehicle has a safety problem, you should always contact NHTSA to let them know. If there are multiple reports received, they will take caution to open an investigation on the vehicle or part. The investigation consists of the following:

  • A preliminary review will be conducted involving consumer complaints and other information relating to the possible defects.
  • There may be an analysis calling for investigations if there have been multiple complaints.
  • There will be an investigation of the alleged safety defects.
  • There will be an investigation of the effectiveness of the safety recalls.

Now that you have gained a better understanding of how vehicle recalls work, you know what to do if your vehicle has a safety defect or you suspect it might. If your vehicle has been part of a recall and you have become injured as the result of an accident, you may have a case. Call us today for a consultation to find out where you stand.