When you buy a product, whether off the shelf or online, you expect it to be safe. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have a duty to the public to make sure that their products are not harmful.
But some products have dangerous defects that can cause injuries. When it comes to light that a product is defective, it is recalled—either voluntarily by the company or as a requirement of the Consumer Product Safety Commission or other agency.
However, the recalls don’t do you any good unless you know about them. And it can be difficult to keep up with and research the latest recalls.
Fortunately, the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) has plans to help consumers more easily research important automobile recalls.
In a recent release, the agency announced that it will “require automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to provide consumers with a free online tool that will enable them to search recall information by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) starting next year.”
NHTSA will also require manufacturers to alert consumers to recalls in a timely manner: within sixty days of giving the NHTSA notice of the defect.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox said of the new requirement, “Owners and potential buyers alike will soon be able to identify whether a safety recall for their specific vehicle is incomplete…”
Several automakers already offer this service, but others still do not. The tool will be available on SaferCar.gov, a website for automobile safety. Currently, SaferCar.gov only allows users to search by vehicle make and model.
VINs are serial numbers that identify individual motor vehicles. Using the VIN, you can obtain the vehicle’s history—which can tell you whether or not the car has been damaged or stolen—and find out if any part has been recalled.
To find out the latest automotive recalls, visit SaferCar.gov.