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Recalls Only Work If You're Aware of Them

  • How will I know if there's a recall on my car?
    If you've registered your vehicle, your manufacturer will notify you if there's a safety recall by sending you a letter in the mail. Be on the lookout for an envelope with this label:
  • What do I do if my car is recalled?
    When you receive notification, follow any interim safety guidance provided by the manufacturer and contact your local dealership. Whether you receive a recall notification or are subject to a safety improvement campaign, it is very important that you visit your dealer to have the vehicle serviced. The dealer will fix the recalled part or portion of your vehicle for free. If a dealer refuses to repair your vehicle in accordance with the recall letter, you should notify the manufacturer immediately.
  • What if my car isn't recalled now—could it be recalled later?
    Yes. Whether a manufacturer independently conducts a safety recall or NHTSA orders one, the manufacturer must file a public report describing the safety-related defect or noncompliance. Manufacturers are also required to notify owners by mail within 60 days of notifying NHTSA of a recall decision.

...And If You Make NHTSA Aware of Your Safety Problem

  • How can I report a safety problem to NHTSA?
    Reporting a vehicle or equipment safety problem to NHTSA is an important first step to get the situation remedied and make our roads safer. If we receive similar reports from a number of people about the same product, this could indicate a safety-related defect may exist that would warrant opening an investigation. Report your vehicle or equipment safety complaint on
  • Will I be contacted?
    In some cases, an investigator from the Office of Defects Investigation may call you to clarify information from your report. Unfortunately, the large volume of reports received by the agency does not permit a return call for each report filed.
  • What is NHTSA's process for investigating safety problems?
    Our technical experts review each and every call, letter, and online report of an alleged safety problem filed with NHTSA. Although we have no jurisdiction over defects that are not safety-related, we do review each report that suggests a potential safety defect involving groups of motor vehicles or vehicle equipment. There is no established number of reports that must be filed before NHTSA investigates an issue.