Major automotive recalls often make the news, especially if they involve deaths or serious injury. General Motors’ recall of the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 has raised concerns over the reporting process. However, not every recall is one that is life-threatening. Sometimes, there is just something that doesn’t work well from the factory that the manufacturer decides to fix. It is important to know if the vehicle you own has any recalls that need remedied. For those buying a used car, it is also extremely useful to research the car before purchase to see if anything needs addressed. We show you how to check.


The NHTSA’s website for searching for recalls.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) keeps a database of all vehicle, child safety seat, and tire recalls on their website. For a direct link to the site, click here.


The drop-down lists allow you to choose your vehicle.

Using the drop-down lists at the lower right, choose the vehicle year, make, and model. After selecting the vehicle, click the GO button.


If there is a recall, they will be listed immediately.

If there is a recall, the Recalls tab will already be selected and information about the recall will be given. Scroll down to continue reading about the recall and any additional ones (if applicable). Be sure to note the REMEDY part of the recall, where the NHTSA explains what needs to be done to repair the problem.


Service bulletins are fixes for the vehicle that weren’t full-blown safety recalls.

For additional problems with the vehicle that did not warrant a full recall, click on the Service Bulletins tab. If the vehicle demonstrates the symptoms mentioned, the dealership should be notified. For those who are purchasing a used vehicle, contacting a vehicle service department and providing them the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should show whether the vehicle had that option repaired.

For those already at a dealership, or want to be able to access this information away from a computer, has a mobile app available for iPhone and Android that provides all of the information that the website does. All of this information is also available by contacting the manufacturer, but the NHTSA provides an extremely easy-to-use interface to save time and make vehicles safer.