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How Do I Check to See if My Vehicle Has Been Recalled?

By Butler Prather LLP on September 12, 2022

You probably hear about recalls all the time on the news, but often, do not assume that the recall has to do with you or your vehicle. However, most people do not realize that recalls occur all the time, including for issues that do not make it onto the news. You need to know if your vehicle has been recalled for anything, including individual parts that may be defective inside of the vehicle that could affect overall safety.

How to Check for Vehicle Recalls

If you are not sure whether or not your vehicle has any active recalls, that is okay. There is an easy way to check. Typically, individuals will receive a notice in the mail from the manufacturer of the vehicle to notify them that the vehicle is under recall for a specific reason. However, if you have not received a letter or are simply curious, you can go to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) devoted to safety recalls.

When you go to that website, you will see at the top of the page an area where you can put in your vehicle identification number, more commonly referred to as the VIN number. You can find your VIN number in a variety of areas related to your vehicle or documentation for your vehicle. Most vehicle numbers will have the VIN number viewable through the windshield of the driver’s side dashboard. Additionally, you can usually open your door and see a little sticker inside of the door frame that is often accompanied by a bar code. If you look at the information on the sticker, you will find the vehicle’s VIN number.

Finally, you will typically be able to find the VIN number on documents pertaining to your vehicle. This can include DMV records, your vehicle’s insurance cards, the vehicle’s registration, or the title of the vehicle.

What if You Find a Recall for Your Vehicle?

If you discover that there is a recall for your vehicle, please understand that this is more normal than you might think. The vast majority of recalls revolve around issues that typically do not cause immediate or disastrous safety issues. In most cases, recalls recommend that individuals take their vehicle to the dealership to have it repaired free of charge. However, if a vehicle revolves around a serious safety issue, the recall notice will ask individuals to leave their car parked and not drive it anywhere. In these cases, individuals can have their vehicle towed to the dealership to have it repaired free of charge.

If the recall notice says that individuals should not operate the vehicle, this is important. For these types of severe safety issue recalls, operating the vehicle could lead to a person creating a safety hazard not only for themselves but for others on the roadway around them.

After an individual discovers what the recall pertains to for their vehicle, the number one priority needs to be getting the vehicle fixed. Under the law in the United States, vehicle manufacturers have one of three options to choose from when it comes to correcting recall issues:

  • Repair. This is the most common route, and this allows manufacturers to repair the part or the vehicle at no cost to the owner.
  • Replace. In the event the issue cannot be resolved or repaired, the manufacturer has the option of providing the owner of the vehicle with the same identical model for a similar model of equal value.
  • Refund. The manufacturer also has the option of refunding the purchase price of the vehicle, minus a reasonable depreciation amount.

This repair, replace, and refund process can apply not only to the overall vehicle itself but also any part that has been recalled. This includes airbags, wheels, seats, steering components, electrical components, and more.

Contact our Atlanta car accident lawyers today.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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