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What To Do If Your Car Has A Safety Recall


What To Do If Your Car Has A Safety Recall

(Or if you’re not sure whether or not it does)

“What is a safety recall?”

When it is discovered that there is a fault with a certain vehicle, and that fault affects enough vehicles and is a potential safety issue, then a recall is typically performed. Sometimes the manufacturer of the vehicle notices the problem and issues the recall themselves, and sometimes the Federal government makes them issue the recall. Usually a recall is because of a manufacturing defect or installation error with a part or parts on the vehicle, such as the part was not designed or produced properly. It’s not uncommon, and pretty much all major manufacturers have issued a recall at one time or another.  The recall is designed to get the problem fixed for you by replacing the faulty part.  About 25% of vehicles in the US are driving around out there with at least one unperformed recall.

“How will I know if there’s a recall out on my vehicle?”

Car manufacturers will send you a notice in the mail that lets you know there is a recall for your vehicle. This notice might look like junk mail at first, but it’s not. Open it up and read it.

I you have moved and not updated your address with the DMV at the time the recall is issued, you can check to see if it applies to your vehicle at

Sometimes you might get an email notification, or notification using some other method, to let you know the recall is there. But it’s required that manufacturers send out the notice by mail.

Safety Recall Notice

 “I got a notice in the mail that my vehicle has a recall. What should I do?”

First of all, stay calm and be happy that a potential problem with your car is being resolved. Second, you’ll want to confirm that the notice was in fact for your vehicle. Compare the VIN on the notice to the VIN on your vehicle and make sure they match.  You can find the VIN at the base of the dashboard on the driver’s side by looking through the windshield from the outside.  You can also usually find it in the driver’s door jam with the door open.

If you think you might have accidentally thrown out a recall notice thinking it was junk mail, or if you are just curious about past or present recalls for your car, you can go to and look up your vehicle by year, make and model. If you’re not sure if a listed recall has been done to your vehicle yet, or if you bought the vehicle used, you can call the dealership and give them the VIN so they can check.

“How do I get the recall done?”

Call the dealership, have your VIN number ready, and schedule an appointment with them. Sorry, I’d do it at my shop if the manufacturer would let me. But for a safety recall you’ll need to go to the dealer.

“Do I have to pay for the recall?”

Manufacturers are required to pay for any recalls for vehicles 8 years old and newer, so you shouldn’t be charged a dime if your vehicle is 8 years or newer. If you bought your vehicle used and aren’t sure if a recall has been performed, you can call the dealership and ask them to run the VIN and find out.

“Is my vehicle safe to drive?”

Most likely. Just book the appointment and get the recall done ASAP so you don’t need to think or worry about it.

If you have any questions about vehicle recalls, don’t hesitate to email me at, and I’ll help in any way that I can.