Takata’s airbag inflator recall is the largest in U.S. history. It is also a perfect example of why it is important to check for recalls. People have been injured or killed in minor car accidents while driving vehicles using Takata airbags. It’s not worth the risk to ignore this recall, especially when fixing recalled vehicles is easy.
In some cases, consumers are unaware recalls have been issued for their vehicles. Here’s how you can check for a recall and take action to receive repairs.
Checking for and Fixing Recalled Vehicles Is Simple
Step one – locate your VIN: First, you are going to need to locate your 17-digit vehicle identification number (also known as the VIN), which is typically found where the driver’s side windshield meets the dashboard. It also may be on your insurance policy card.
Step two – use NHTSA’s website: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) operates a website called www.safercar.gov that allows you to check for recalls. Plug your VIN into the website’s search engine and it will tell you if your vehicle has been recalled.
Step three – call up your dealership: Let’s say, for example, you have a Toyota Camry. You would want to call a local Toyota dealership. Under federal law, dealerships are required to repair recalled vehicles for free. It’s a good idea to call first is because, due to the size of some recalls, dealerships might be short on parts. If that is the case, they can redirect you to another dealership.
Step four – go to your dealership: Once you are told that the dealership has the parts you need, go in for repairs. If your automaker tells you not to drive your vehicle, have it towed to the dealership. In the case of Takata airbags found in some Honda Civics, NHTSA has claimed the vehicles are too dangerous to drive.
In the near future, this process might become much easier. A new rule proposed by NHTSA would require automakers to notify consumers of recalls by email, phone or other electronic means. If the rule passes, it would be much easier to notify consumers that their vehicles need vital repairs.