What You Need to Know About Car Recalls

Sep 5, 2022 1 min read

Did you know: In 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), which administers car recalls, issued more than 1,000 safety recalls involving over 35 million vehicles and other equipment in the United States? According to recent data released from CARFAX, there are 55.7 million cars on the road that have not had their recalls fixed, a number that’s risen 5% from 2019. Leaving many vehicle owners either unaware of recalls, or perhaps, ignoring them.

What Is a NHTSA Recall?

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are maintained by NHTSA and include performance requirements for all vehicles made in the United States, or imported to the United States. These requirements monitor vehicle parts that are critical to safe operation and parts that protect passengers; for example, brakes, steering, lighting, air bags and seatbelts.

When a safety-related defect is identified, a recall is issued. Then, once a recall has been determined, the vehicle manufacturer is legally required to inform car owners about it, typically by mail. The manufacturer must also inform owners of how to get the problem corrected and provide repairs at no cost to the vehicle owner.

Does My Car Have a Recall?

You should receive a mailing to your home address informing you if there is a recall on your car. However, it’s possible that if you purchased the car second-hand from someone else, then you might not receive the mailings.

Not to worry — the NHTSA keeps a comprehensive and current database of safety-related recalls. To check your car for recalls, access the online search, which uses your car’s VIN number to show all open recalls, as well as information about repairs. Using NHTSA’s online tool, you can also set up future recall alerts by e-mail.

When you receive a recall letter or an alert via email, it will likely contain the following information:

  • A description of the defect
  • The risk or hazard posed by the problem
  • Potential warning signs
  • How the manufacturer plans to fix the problem
  • Instructions regarding what you should do next

What Happens If Your Car Is Recalled?

As soon as you find out there’s a recall on your vehicle, use the guidance provided by your car manufacturer and get in immediate contact with your local dealership. The dealer will fix the recalled part or portion of your car for free. Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate. By ignoring these recalls, you could put yourself, your passengers and other drivers who share the road with you in danger.


When your car is well-maintained, it simply runs better. Make sure you’ve got the coverage you need by contacting your local Farm Bureau agent.

Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.