Don’t just check your clocks: How to find out if your car is recalled

View of the front of the cars parked in a row in the city Parking lot.(Getty Images/iStockphoto/Valery Yurasov)
With the spring forward this weekend, you might be starting your Sunday checking that all the clocks in your house are changed and your smoke detectors are in working order.

But according to federal highway officials, it’s also a good opportunity to check in on one more thing you might depend on: Your car.

“There are tens of millions of vehicles with safety recalls out there,” said James Owen, acting administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“The recall repair rate is lower than we’d like to see. It’s rarely 100%. It’s often close to half.”

And with the amount of junk mail we get all the time, you’re hardly alone if you weren’t even aware your car had a recall associated with it.

“The agency doesn’t determine to initiate a recall unless it’s determined the issue presents an unreasonable risk to safety,” said Owens.

“Recalls can cover a wide range of issues, but they’re all safety related. So they can involve your brakes, your transmission, your engine or your fuel pump.”

Checking the status of your own car is pretty simple: Go to NHTSA’s website and punch in your vehicle identification number, which can be found at the bottom of your windshield as well as in the driver’s side door jamb and on your insurance card.

If there is an open recall with your car, contact a dealership and you can get it fixed for free — even if you aren’t the original owner.

“The more of these recall repairs that are done,” said Owens, “the safer our roads are going to be.”

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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