If you're buying a used car, how can you be sure that vehicle is safe? How can you determine if that car has been subject to a safety recall by the manufacturer and if so, whether the repair associated with the recall has been completed?
To help answer these questions, consumers have a new on-line tool at their disposal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now providing consumers with a quick and easy way to identify uncompleted recalls by entering their vehicle identification number (VIN).
The new tool is available on www.safercar.gov/vinlookup. Its free. The site covers safety recalls conducted over the past 15 years by all major auto manufacturers.
Every year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States due to safety defects or noncompliance with federal safety standards. A NHTSA official says, "By making individual VIN searches readily available, we're providing another service to consumers - the peace of mind knowing that the vehicle they own, or that they are thinking of buying or renting is free of safety defects".
As part of the new NHTSA mandata, 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.
You can find a 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.
Marsh, Rickard & Bryan serves consumers who have been injured by unsafe cars.