From child safety seats to air bag inflators, it seems like every few months, there’s some type of recall in the news. But while it may be an all-too-common headline these days, don’t brush it off. It’s imperative to follow up immediately if your car has been affected by a recall.
Only you can protect your family or yourself from defective equipment that could pose a threat to your safety. More than 300 people have been injured or killed by defective air bag inflators, spurring the largest and most complex vehicle recall in U.S. history, affecting nearly 70 million vehicles from 19 automakers.
Getting these unsafe vehicles off the road is integral to improving safety and saving lives.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging vehicle owners to take a few simple steps to protect themselves and others from this very serious threat to safety.
What is a vehicle recall?
A vehicle safety recall is an effort to take unsafe vehicles or vehicle parts off the road. Either a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determine that a vehicle or piece of equipment has a safety-related defect or does not comply with federal standards. In 2018 alone, there were more than 29 million vehicles recalled and more than 6 million tires, child passenger seats and pieces of equipment recalled.
How to check for recalls
If your vehicle is currently under recall, you should receive a notice in the mail from your vehicle’s manufacturer. If you’re worried about missing a notice, you can also stay up to date on recalls by signing up for notification emails from NHTSA.
You don’t need to wait for a notification to find out if your vehicle is under recall. Use your vehicle identification number (VIN) and visit nhtsa.gov/recalls to see if your vehicle is under recall. You can also use NHTSA’s website to check on vehicle-related products, such as car seats, tires or equipment.
Not sure where your VIN is? Look on the lower left of your vehicle’s windshield for your vehicle’s unique 17-character VIN.
Your VIN is also located on your registration card and may be shown on your insurance card. If you’re an ERIE customer, you can print a temporary auto insurance ID card through your online account.
Get the fix (for free!)
If your vehicle is under recall, follow any interim safety guidance provided by the manufacturer and contact your local dealership to fix the recalled part for free. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or – in rare cases – repurchasing the vehicle.
Report problems for investigation
If you think your vehicle or equipment could have a safety defect, reporting it to NHTSA is important. If the agency receives similar reports from a number of people about the same product, this could indicate that a safety-related defect exists that would warrant an investigation.
Suspect a safety defect in your car? You can report it to NHTSA one of two easy ways:
- Report it online at the NHTSA recalls website
- Call NHTSA’s vehicle safety hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393 (toll-free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands).
Wherever you go, having the right auto insurance can keep you protected on the road, too. You can learn more and get a quote by contacting your local Assure America agent. Assure America has locations in: Weirton, Wellsburg and Chester in West Virginia; Steubenville, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.