Understanding Car Recalls: Better Safe Than Sorry

Although vehicle manufacturers issue recalls frequently in order to repair equipment that may present a safety risk, many drivers aren’t aware that their vehicles are affected and fail to get potentially lifesaving repairs. According to J.D. Power and Associates, 1 in 6 vehicles on U.S. roads has been recalled, but not repaired.

Getting recalled vehicles repaired improves safety for the owner, their passengers and others on the road. The end results are fewer accidents and more lives saved. It may seem to be an inconvenience to have your car repaired, especially if it seems to be running fine, but it can make a lifesaving difference.

How to track recalls

With recalls being announced frequently, it can be difficult to keep track of the various manufacturers, models and malfunctions. Here are some tips from one of our partner carriers, The Hanover, to help you sort through all the information:

  • This label means it’s not junk mail. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created a standardized label that car manufacturers are required to use when sending recall notices to help consumers recognize a mailing as legitimate, in hopes of increasing recall completion rates.
  • Visit the NHTSA website. To see if your vehicle is subject to a recall, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall website. You can also visit your vehicle manufacturer’s website to look for information about recalls and sign up for other important safety and health notices.

These efforts by the industry, government and companies help drivers quickly sort through all the recall information by sharing relevant information so consumers can respond when recall notices are issued.

Buying used? Check the recall history.

Purchasing a used car presents unique challenges in regards to safety recalls. According to Carfax, one in 10 used cars for sale online has a recall that has not been addressed.

  • Repaired recalls. Owners are not obligated to fix recalls before selling, so it is important to know about any existing recall notices on the vehicle. Always ask a seller for proof of prior recalls being repaired.
  • Check the VIN.  If a car has an open recall, the manufacturer, a vehicle history report or the dealer may be able to tell from the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), located inside the front driver’s side door.
  • Report it. Consumers can report potential vehicle-related safety defects for review to the NHTSA by calling 1-800-424-9393.

For questions and advice on car safety, liability or auto insurance coverage, feel free to contact us at Neckerman Insurance.


The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., based in Worcester, Mass., is the holding company for several property and casualty insurance companies, which together constitute one of the largest insurance businesses in the United States. For more than 160 years, The Hanover has provided a wide range of property and casualty products and services to individuals, families, and businesses. The Hanover distributes its products through a select group of independent agents and brokers. Together with its agents, the company offers specialized coverages for small and mid-sized businesses, as well as insurance protection for homes, automobiles, and other personal items. Through its international member company, Chaucer, The Hanover also underwrites business at Lloyd’s of London in several major insurance and reinsurance classes, including marine, property and energy. For more information, please visit hanover.com.