A New Way to Find Out If Your Car Has Been Recalled

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Wednesday unveiled a new website that will allow car buyers, owners and lessees to check to see if their vehicle has had a recall notice issued and if all recall work has been completed. With about 250 million cars on U.S. roads, this is a significant safety improvement for car owners.

The NHTSA has gone a step further as well, requiring all major car and motorcycle manufacturers to provide Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) search capability for uncompleted recalls on their own websites. The VIN data must be updated at least weekly, both for the maker’s own website and the NHTSA search tool.

The recall issues that have hit General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) since the beginning of the year have resulted in 65 separate recall notices, affecting more than 25 million U.S. vehicles and another 4 million in Canada. More than 10% of all cars on U.S. roads this year have been recalled by one company.

The Chicago Tribune reported last month that GM has recalled about 40% of the estimated 64.6 million GM vehicles currently on U.S. roads and highways. The prior record for one manufacturer for a yearly total was held by Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), which recalled 23.3 million vehicles in 2001.

As of early July, carmakers had recalled a record total of 37.5 million vehicles in the United States, with six months of the year still ahead. The previous record of 30.8 million recalls was set in 2004.

Through June, more than four times as many vehicles had been recalled in the United States as new vehicles had been sold.

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