The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a new search tool at its Web site that allows car buyers and owners – using a vehicle’s identification number (VIN) -- to identify open or unrepaired safety recalls.
Consumers just need to input a VIN to determine out whether a vehicle has any open, unrepaired recalls and whether the carmaker has a fix available. Jim Schulte, NHTSA’s director of digital strategies, remarked that the search tool should be a one-stop shop for consumers.
The launch of the search tool comes as carmakers – led General Motors – issued recalls for millions of light vehicles in the US. The agency disclosed that carmakers have issued recalls of around 37.5 million vehicles in the US in just the first six months of 2014 -- more cars and trucks recalled than in any previous year.
According to Schulte, search tool’s database covers light vehicles dating back 15 years. Once the visitor enters the VIN, open recalls will be noted in red text. Vehicles without open recalls – those that already have been repaired -- will not give any search results. NHTSA is collaborating with the National Automobile Dealers Association to integrate the VIN search tool at dealerships.
According to NADA chairman Forrest McConnell, NHTSA’s VIN search tool will help dealerships determine whether a used car has an unrepaired recall before making a purchase or taking in a trade.
He added that the tool will likewise help dealerships determine whether used vehicles in inventory are under recall. He also noted that the tool will provide used-car shoppers with safety recall information.
NHTSA is requiring major carmaker to provide VIN search capability for uncompleted recalls on their own Web sites. NHTSA is requiring the carmakers to update the data at least weekly since its VIN search tool relies on the information provided by them.