IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

How to Know If Your Car Has Been Recalled

Car recalls happen when parts — like airbags — fail. Find out if your vehicle is affected in just minutes.

Recalls are back in the news. Yesterday, it was announced that Takata, the Japanese auto parts maker, filed for bankruptcy after the largest safety recall in automotive history. Worldwide, over 100 million airbag inflators were recalled, affecting 19 different automakers, according to the Associated Press.

If a manufacturer says something’s wrong with your car, why would you want to drive it?

Jeff Rossen

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports that of the 51 million cars recalled in 2015, on average, over 25% of those recalled cars were never repaired.

“If a manufacturer says something’s wrong with your car, why would you want to drive it?” asks Jeff Rossen, NBC News National Investigative Correspondent and host of Rossen Reports. Maybe you missed the e-mail, letter or phone call from your car dealership or manufacturer — or maybe you just forgot. Worried? Don't be. It takes less than two minutes (depending on your Wi-Fi or cellphone’s data speed) to make sure your ride is in the clear. Rossen breaks it down in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download the MyCARFAX app. The app is free and able for both Android and iPhone. Not only can you check on recalls related to your car, but you can also view your vehicle history, track your service history and get alerts for upcoming maintenance. You can even research how much it’ll cost to repair your car if you’re in need of service in the future.
  2. Enter your car’s identifying information. Choose either your license plate number or the vehicle identification number, or VIN. You can find your VIN number on your vehicle’s title, registration card or insurance documents.
  3. Check your recall status. If you’re in the clear, you’re good to go. If your car has been recalled, call your dealership right away to schedule an appointment to fix the part in question. Remember, if your car is on the NHTSA’s recall list, all related repairs should be free of charge. And if your vehicle was affected by the Takata recall, you can still have your car repaired despite the company’s bankruptcy.

RELATED: Faulty Airbag Maker Takata Files for Bankruptcy, Sells to Rival

If you have a recalled vehicle with a defective part, like a Takata airbag, the auto manufacturer must replace it free of charge. (C) Rebecca Cook / Reuters / REUTERS

For more tips like these, click here to pre-order Jeff's new book 'Rossen to the Rescue.'