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NHTSA makes car recall notification easy


NHTSA makes car recall notification easy


About one in four drivers ignore recalls on their cars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s a problem, because safety recalls speak to an unseen threat to the driver, plus passengers, other motorists, and even passersby. When a significant risk has been identified by the manufacturer and/or the government, a recall is issued, instructing consumers to bring their cars back to a dealership for corrective or preventative action. Sometimes the automakers are proactive, other times the government demands a recall.

If a car isn’t brought back to have a recall service performed, it could experience a failure that could injure the occupants or others on the road. (It could also be resold and subsequent owners might not be aware of the defect.)

In theory, consumers are notified of recalls by mail, though in the flood of junk mail and address changes, the message isn’t always received.

In an effort to increase the response to recalls, NHTSA started an electronic notification service in early 2009. You can sign up by e-mail or RSS on cars, tires, and child safety seats. The service allows you to sign up for alerts on up to five specific car models, or on all cars. Alerts on motorcycle and school bus recalls are also available.

Consumers can also search the NHTSA Web site for existing recalls.

Signing up for one of the electronic alerts is a good idea; it makes it easy to keep up with the latest recall notices on your car, so you don’t have to keep returning to check for updates.

That’s a safety feature we can all live with.

Eric Evarts

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