Resources Related to Investigations and Recalls
NHTSA reviews complaints, conducts various investigations and manages safety recalls for vehicles and vehicle equipment. Below you will find information and quick links to resources related to investigations and recalls.
NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation administers the agency’s safety recall program. This includes providing monitoring and verification of recall notifications and remedy campaigns by manufacturers, as well as providing accurate and timely recall information, including metrics, to the public.
On NHTSA.gov, consumers can search for recalls by:
Other quick linksTakata air bag recall Roles in the recall process NHTSA annual recall report (2022) State DMV Grants to promote recall notification
In addition, NHTSA makes recall information searchable:
NHTSA conducts investigations concerning the identification and correction of safety-related defects in vehicles and vehicle equipment. Information about potentially defective products can come from a variety of sources including manufacturers, consumers, law enforcement agencies, media and online sources. NHTSA looks at all available data to assess the relative frequency and potential severity of any possible safety defect using an established risk-based process. Complaint information submitted to NHTSA is continuously reviewed to identify potential safety issues that warrant follow up. NHTSA may also use resources, such as the agency’s Vehicle Research and Test Center and Special Crash Investigations, to assist with defect investigations. If NHTSA determines a safety-related defect trend exists, the agency may open an investigation to determine if the defect presents an unreasonable risk to safety that may warrant a recall by the manufacturer.
There are several types of defect investigations that NHTSA conducts: Defect Petition, Preliminary Evaluation, Recall Query and Engineering Analysis. NHTSA works to complete a Defect Petition within four months, Preliminary Evaluation within eight months, Recall Query within eight months and Engineering Analysis within 18 months. NHTSA makes investigation information searchable by date of when an investigation was opened or closed.
- Related info: Office of Defects Investigation quarterly metrics
NHTSA tests vehicles and equipment that are available for sale to consumers to ensure that they meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. We do this by purchasing vehicles and equipment from dealers and retailers, then testing them. If an item fails to meet federal safety standards when tested, NHTSA notifies the manufacturer. Test failures or other evidence of not meeting standards may lead to a compliance investigation.
Vehicle and equipment test results are available on our website.
- Related info: Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance quarterly metrics
NHTSA works with Customs and Border Protection to monitor the importation of vehicles and equipment to prevent goods not meeting U.S. standards from entering the marketplace. The agency reviews requests to allow importation of non-U.S. market vehicles under certain exceptions. Also, the agency acts to ensure that vehicles that are modified to meet U.S. standards by registered importers meet requirements and do not have safety defects.
Special Crash Investigations
NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis conducts Special Crash Investigation cases, which are intended to be a data set useful for examining special circumstances or outcomes in crashes from an engineering perspective. Special Crash Investigations allow NHTSA to quickly locate and examine unique real-world crashes anywhere in the country and perform comprehensive clinical investigations. The data collected are used by the automotive safety community to improve the performance and development of advanced safety systems.
NHTSA's special crash investigation cases are searchable online.
Related info: Special Crash Investigations
Consumers who experience a vehicle issue that could be a safety defect are encouraged to file a complaint with NHTSA. Complaints can be filed through NHTSA.gov or by calling NHTSA's Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.
NHTSA makes its complaints searchable by keyword on NHTSA's Recall page.
Legal and Enforcement Quick Links
Standing General Order
Crash reporting for incidents involving ADS and Level 2 ADAS
FCA US: Failure to adequately remedy defective vehicles within a reasonable time
Hyundai and Kia: Conducted untimely recalls and inaccurately reported certain information
Takata: Failed to notify NHTSA of a defect within the required period
Letters of Interpretations
NHTSA's Chief Counsel responds to questions about vehicles and equipment that involve NHTSA statutes and regulations.
Laws & Regulations Webpage
NHTSA regulates the safety of motor vehicles and related equipment.
Quick Links for Manufacturers
Frequently Asked Questions
I saw a recall for my make and model but haven’t received a notification. Where can I look to find out if my vehicle is affected by a safety recall?
Visit NHTSA.gov/Recalls and enter your vehicle identification number. You can also download NHTSA’s free SaferCar app and add your vehicle and VIN. When SaferCar discovers a recall for the vehicle you entered, it will send you an alert on your mobile device.
How do I find out if my child’s car seat has been recalled?
Visit NHTSA.gov/Recalls, select the “Car Seats” tab, and search your car seat brand name and model.
Where can I find a list of recalls by manufacturer?
NHTSA has an interactive recalls dashboard where you can filter by manufacturer.
Where can I find a list of recalls by product type?
Visit NHTSA.gov/search-safety-issues to search recalls by product type.
How can I see if a recall repair was previously completed on my vehicle?
You can search by VIN at NHTSA.gov/Recalls. If there is an unrepaired recall for the VIN you entered, it will display the unrepaired recall(s). If you still have questions, please contact the manufacturer.
Do recalls expire?
Once a vehicle has been recalled, that recall never expires.
Where can I find investigations conducted by NHTSA?
Review the Investigations section of this webpage or visit NHTSA.gov/Recalls and search for the vehicle, car seats, tires or equipment. In the search results, you’ll see a link to investigations. All publicly available information will be added to the investigation record on NHTSA.gov, including opening and closing resumes, information requests, correspondence with the manufacturer and other official documents, once they have been redacted for confidential business information and privacy concerns.
How many complaints does it take to open an investigation?
There is no set number. NHTSA reviews every complaint, along with other data, to determine if a potential safety defect trend exists.
I believe my vehicle has a safety defect. Where can I file a complaint?
My dealership said my recall repair was not covered by my warranty. Can I file a complaint with NHTSA?
Will I be contacted about my complaint submitted to NHTSA?
If NHTSA experts require more information, receipts or photos, you may be contacted. Not every complainant is contacted.
Will NHTSA share my complaint with the manufacturer?
When submitting a complaint, you will be asked if you want to share your complaint details, including VIN and identifying information, with the manufacturer.
How can I file a complaint on more than one vehicle at a time?
Please contact our Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.
I believe my off-road vehicle has a safety defect. Can I submit a complaint to NHTSA?
No, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission to file a complaint for off-road vehicles, such as ATVs, side-by-sides, off-road motorcycles, and go-carts.
How can I access and download data related to recalls, investigations, complaints or manufacturer communications?
For data downloads, visit NHTSA.gov/nhtsa-datasets-and-apis.
How do I find Manufacturer Communications/Technical Service Bulletins?
For more information on manufacturer communications for specific vehicles or equipment, visit NHTSA.gov/Recalls and search for the vehicle, car seats, tires or equipment. In the search results, you’ll see a link to manufacturer communication. Additional information is also available on our vehicle manufacturer webpage.
Can I search more than one VIN at a time for recalls?
At NHTSA.gov/Recalls, consumers can only search one VIN at a time. There are companies that offer bulk VIN checks, including for commercial use, but they are not affiliated with NHTSA.
What Early Warning Reporting data are available to the public?
Death and injury reports, light vehicle production numbers, property damage claims, manufacturer communications, and foreign recall reports are publicly available. For more information, visit NHTSA.gov/vehicle-manufacturers/early-warning-reporting.
Below, you can search recent press releases and recall-related documents that have been updated on NHTSA.gov.