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DOT Launches Free, Online Search Tool for Recalls Using Vehicle Identification Number

“Every year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States due to safety defects or noncompliance with federal safety standards. To help car buyers, owners and renters know that their vehicles are safe and their safety defects have been address, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today unveiled a new, free, online search tool consumers can use to find out if a vehicle is directly impacted by a recall. The new tool is available on and provides consumers with a quick and easy way to identify uncompleted recalls by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). All major light vehicle and motorcycle brands can be searched…Also effective today, under the new NHTSA mandate, all major light vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers are required to provide VIN search capability for uncompleted recalls on their own websites. This data must be updated at least weekly. NHTSA’s new VIN look-up tool directly relies on information from all major automakers, and regularly updated information from the automakers is critical to the efficacy of the search tool. Consumers can find their vehicle identification number by looking at the dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle, or on the driver’s side door on the door post where the door latches when it is closed. Determining whether there is a recall that consumers need to take action on is easy. After entering the VIN number into the field, results will appear if the consumer has an open recall on their vehicle, and if there are none, owners will see “No Open Recalls…”Today’s announcement builds on NHTSA’s current efforts to provide consumers with information to help them make informed decisions, including the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) 5-Star Ratings System, Recall envelope and Safercar mobile apps which provide on-the-spot information on crash protection features, advanced safety features, and recalls on new vehicles and many older models. In addition, NHTSA is working with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) to help ensure that franchise dealerships across the United States become aware of and understand how to use the new VIN search tool.”

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