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Where’s my VIN?

Every vehicle has a unique vehicle identification number, often referred to as a VIN. Look on the lower left of your car’s windshield for your 17-character VIN. Your VIN is also located on your car’s registration card, and it may be shown on your insurance card.

Vehicle Identification Number location

What information will display in the search results?

  • When searching by license plate or VIN, you’ll learn if a specific vehicle needs to be repaired as part of a recall.
  • When searching by a vehicle’s year, make and model, or for car seats, tires or equipment, you'll get general results for recalls, investigations, complaints and manufacturer communications.

What will the license plate and VIN search show?

  • An unrepaired recall for a vehicle from certain manufacturers.
  • If the vehicle has no unrepaired recalls, you will see the message: "0 unrepaired recalls associated with this VIN."

What won’t the license plate and VIN search show?

  • A safety recall that has already been repaired. 
  • Some recently announced safety recalls for which not all VINs have been identified. VINs are added continuously so please check regularly. 
  • Safety recalls that are more than 15 years old (except where a manufacturer offers more coverage).
  • Safety recalls conducted by small vehicle manufacturers, including some ultra-luxury brands and specialty applications.
  • Manufacturer customer service or other non-safety recall campaigns.
  • A recall involving an international vehicle.

Why is the license plate search result showing a different vehicle?

License plate information is generated from state department of motor vehicles. If the search result shows a vehicle you previously owned, rather than your new vehicle with the same license plate, contact your state DMV to request your vehicle information be updated. In the meantime, you can search for recalls using your vehicle’s VIN.

Other search options, including by NHTSA ID

You can also search for recalls and safety issues information by NHTSA ID and complaints by keyword

Get Recall Alerts

Download NHTSA's free SaferCar app.
When SaferCar discovers a safety recall for the vehicle or
equipment you entered, it will send you an alert on your phone.

You can also sign up for general recall alerts via email.

Report a Safety Problem
by filing a complaint with NHTSA

Have you experienced a vehicle, tire, car seat, or equipment safety problem that could be a safety defect?

If so, you can file a complaint that we will carefully review — like we do with every safety problem submitted to NHTSA. Complaints like yours help us investigate possible defects, which could lead to a safety recall.

Report a Safety Problem

From complaints
to recall

NHTSA issues vehicle safety standards and requires manufacturers to recall vehicles and equipment that have safety-related defects. Learn about NHTSA's recall process.



Reporting your problem is the important first step.

Your complaint will be added to a public NHTSA database after personally identifying information is removed.

If the agency receives similar reports from a number of people about the same product, this could indicate that a safety-related defect may exist that would warrant the opening of an investigation.



NHTSA conducts an investigation from reported complaints.


NHTSA reviews filed complaints from vehicle owners and other information related to alleged defects to decide whether to open an investigation.


NHTSA conducts an analysis of any petitions calling for defect investigations. If the petition is denied, the reasons for the denial are published in the Federal Register.


NHTSA opens an investigation of alleged safety defects. It is closed when they notify the manufacturer of recall recommendations or they don’t identify a safety-related defect.


NHTSA monitors the effectiveness and management of recalls, including the filing of recall notices with NHTSA, communicating with owners regarding the recalls and tracking the completion rate of each recall.




Initiated safety recalls require a manufacturer's action to announce and remedy the defects.

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. Most decisions to conduct a recall and remedy a safety defect are made voluntarily by manufacturers prior to any involvement by NHTSA.

Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it, offering a refund, or in rare cases repurchasing the vehicle.

Using our VIN lookup tool, you can access recall information provided by the manufacturer conducting the recall which may be not posted yet on NHTSA’s site.

Go to search by VIN

Recall Spotlight

Recalls Spotlight monitors high-profile recalls and offers consumers resources to find and address vehicle recalls.

Tens of millions of vehicles with Takata air bags under recall.

Defects Investigation and Recalls Resources

Quick links to databases, resources and reports related to defects investigations and recalls.

Roles in the Recall Process


Manufacturers will notify registered owners by first class mail within 60 days of notifying NHTSA of a recall decision. Manufacturers should offer a proper remedy to the owner.


NHTSA will monitor each safety recall to make sure owners receive safe, free, and effective remedies from manufacturers according to the Safety Act and Federal regulations.

You (owner)

You’ll be notified via mail from the manufacturer. When you receive a notification, follow any interim safety guidance provided by the manufacturer and contact your local dealership to fix the recalled part for free.

Tips For Your Safety

Register your vehicle, tires, car seats & equipment and check recalls twice a year.

Motor Vehicle Safety Defects And Recalls - What Every Vehicle Owner Should Know

Download this brochure to get more information about how and why recall campaigns are initiated, and to know your rights and responsibilities when a vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment is recalled.