Was a Recalled Car Fixed? Answer Is Now a Click Away

A new online search tool allows con­sumers to type in a vehi­cle iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber, or VIN, to check on whether recall repairs have been com­plet­ed on a spe­cif­ic car, truck or motor­cy­cle.

This is the first time con­sumers will be able to use a VIN on the Nation­al High­way Traf­fic Safe­ty Administration’s web­site to deter­mine whether a recall issue has been addressed on a par­tic­u­lar car. The ser­vice will also be avail­able on N.H.T.S.A.‘s Safer car app for iOS and Android devices.

The free search tool lets con­sumers quick­ly learn whether a vehi­cle they are con­sid­er­ing for pur­chase has a safe­ty prob­lem that has not been addressed. Recalled vehi­cles can be repaired with­out charge at fran­chised deal­ers.

Pre­vi­ous­ly, con­sumers who vis­it­ed the safe­ty agency’s web­site to check on recalls could search only by vehi­cle make and mod­el year to learn whether a par­tic­u­lar mod­el was, in gen­er­al, sub­ject to a recall. They could not, how­ev­er, find out whether a spe­cif­ic used car — per­haps one they were con­sid­er­ing for pur­chase — had been recalled, but not repaired.

Recall data will go back at least 15 years under the new rules. Automak­ers are not required by fed­er­al law to per­form free recall repairs on vehi­cles more than 10 years old, but they usu­al­ly opt to make the repairs any­way.

This is what con­sumers can expect when search­ing for recall infor­ma­tion about a vehi­cle on the agency’s web­site:

♦ If there is an open recall, they can see what the man­u­fac­tur­er said in the recall notice, includ­ing descrip­tions of the defect, the safe­ty risk asso­ci­at­ed with the prob­lem and a descrip­tion of the rem­e­dy.

♦ If a recall repair has not been com­plet­ed for that par­tic­u­lar vehi­cle, “Recall INCOMPLETE” will appear on the screen in red let­ters.

♦ If there are no open recalls, con­sumers will see “Num­ber of Open Recalls: 0” on the page.

♦ If parts are not yet avail­able to fix the safe­ty defect, the warn­ing will say, in red, “Recall INCOMPLETE. Rem­e­dy not yet avail­able.”

Con­sumers who want to check on more than one vehi­cle nev­er have to leave the page. After they enter one VIN, they will be told by the pro­gram that it is pos­si­ble to enter anoth­er one.

Regard­ing pri­va­cy con­cerns, the agency said it would not gath­er per­son­al infor­ma­tion on the site, so it would not be pos­si­ble to track who has checked the recall sta­tus.

Read the orig­i­nal arti­cle in its entire­ty.


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