We normally see the stories on the news at least once a week… Regional or nationwide recalls on automobiles and their parts and pieces. Millions of vehicles are recalled annually in the United States because of safety defects or noncompliance with federal safety regulations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration branch of the US Department of Transportation aims to help vehicle buyers, owners and renters be aware of the safety of their chosen automobile and keep informed on all recall-related repairs. They recently introduced a free online search feature that allows consumers to see if a specific vehicle has had recalls or recall-related repairs that have not yet been addressed, in addition they also provide a general make/model search tool for safety issues and recalls.

Any major vehicle or motorcycle brand is searchable with the new tool. Vehicle safety and recall information may be less of an issue to people who are shopping for a new car, but it is very important for people shopping for pre-owned vehicles. There may be circumstances, particularly with private sales, where previous owners of a vehicle may have ignored important safety recalls, and not all used car dealers will check or make sure they are performed.

In addition to implementing this new tool, the NHTSA also ordered that all major manufacturers of light vehicles and motorcycles offer VIN search options on their sites for recalls. To ensure drivers have the chance to keep current with recall information, the NHTSA also ruled that information must be updated by manufacturers weekly. If you’re unsure where your VIN number is located,  it can be found by looking at the driver’s side dashboard. Typically it is also located on the driver’s side door where the latch is located that keeps the door closed.

Since the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was enacted in 1966 more than 390 million cars, trucks, buses, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and mopeds, as well as 46 million tires, 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment, and 42 million child safety seats have been recalled to correct safety defects. Recalls are a result of an awareness by the manufacturer or the NHTSA of safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment. Accidents and injury can arise if recalls and repairs are not tended to, which can result in expensive repairs and higher auto insurance premiums. Contact your dedicated client manager with any questions regarding your Massachusetts auto policy!