Check Your VIN to Confirm Vehicle Recalls
Vehicle identification numbers are 17-character alpha-numeric serial sequences found in every new passenger vehicle. First introduced in 1954 and updated in 1982, a VIN can help you identify your vehicle and tell you certain things about it, including past recalls. Recalls are authorized by vehicle manufacturers when a problem has been identified and a repair solution given. You don’t pay for recall repairs, but you might possibly miss out on one if you were not notified or if your car’s previous owner did not have the work done.
You can find your car’s VIN and discover if an outstanding recall must be handled.
1. Go to your car. Approach your vehicle from the driver’s side and look through the windshield to locate a metal strip that is located on the inside of the car where the dashboard and the windshield meet. Typically, the strip is located on the driver’s side, but it may be on the passenger side instead. A second strip might also be found on the inside of the driver’s door post. Some manufacturers also affix this information to key components such as your engine.
2. Write down the VIN. With a pen or pencil and a writing pad or paper in hand, carefully write down the VIN. Check the sequence again to verify that the information you jotted down matches the VIN.
3. Contact your dealer. Locate a dealer for the make/model of your car. Call this business and speak with a service department representative. Explain that you want them to check their records to determine if a recall associated with your VIN has been made. Your dealer will have access to the company’s vehicle database and will let you know if there are outstanding recalls that need to be handled. If so, ask the dealer about scheduling a recall to fix the problem.
4. Visit your manufacturer’s website. Some car manufacturers make it easy on owners to check for recall information. Head to your manufacturer’s website and look for information about product recalls. Enter your VIN and review the results. If there are recalls associated with your vehicle, that information will appear online.
5. Contact the NHTSA. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration operates a hotline where consumers can call to learn if their car has been recalled. That number is 1-888-327-4236. Make contact with the NHTSA if you want to independently verify that a recall has been authorized.
If your car has an outstanding recall, make an appointment to have this problem resolved at once. Some recalls can put you and others in danger, problems that should be handled as soon as they have been made known.
See Also — How to Find Your Vehicle’s History Report