You want the safest car for your family, but researching a car before buying or renting one is only the first step. Every year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States, yet one quarter go unrepaired. Whether you're in the market to buy or rent a car, you also want to make sure any recall notifications of safety defects have been addressed. Even after buying a car, it's just as important to stay informed of recalls—not only on your car, but on your car seats and tires, too.
To help car owners, buyers, and renters stay safe on our Nation's roads, NHTSA provides several resources for consumers to learn about safety recalls (PDF 396 KB), stay informed of notifications, and file complaints about safety problems. So let's start with the basics.
A recall is issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or in rare cases repurchasing the vehicle.
When your vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire is subject to a recall, a safety defect has been identified that affects you. NHTSA monitors each safety recall to make sure owners receive safe, free, and effective remedies from manufacturers according to the Safety Act and Federal regulations. If there is a safety recall, your manufacturer will fix the problem free of charge.