NHTSA Announces Plan for VIN Recall Tool

The agency plans to require makers of automobiles, light trucks, and motorcycles to provide it on their websites starting next year.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has published a final rule requiring automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to provide consumers with a free, online tool on their websites so the motorists can search recall information by Vehicle Identification Number starting next year.

"Safety is our highest priority, and an informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in that effort," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "Owners and potential buyers alike will soon be able to identify whether a safety recall for their specific vehicle is incomplete, using our free online search at SaferCar.gov."

This rule says the online information must be updated at least weekly. Consumers will be able to determine whether they must take action to address an uncompleted safety recall that affects their specific vehicle. “While several automakers already offer this feature, those who do not will have until next year (8/14/14) to comply with the final rule,” according to NHTSA’s announcement.

The announcement also says the VIN information will help NHTSA identify defect trends, and manufacturers will be required to provide vehicle owners with direct notice of recalls within 60 days of notifying NHTSA that a recall is occurring.

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