How to check for re­calls for your car

Chicago Sun-Times - - DRIVE HOME - BY ERIC D. LAWRENCE

Last year, 53 mil­lion ve­hi­cles, car seats, tires and equip­ment were re­called, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

But a por­tion of those de­fects, and those re­ported this year and ear­lier, likely won’t get fixed.

That means ve­hi­cles with po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous prob­lems might re­main on the roads, putting lives in dan­ger. A 2017 Detroit Free Press story put the num­ber of un­re­paired ve­hi­cles un­der re­call at 30%.

NHTSA, how­ever, is launch­ing a tool, a smart­phone app, that could put a dent in the num­ber of un­re­paired ve­hi­cles and make it eas­ier to find out whether there’s a re­call on your car and what to do about it.

Once you down­load the Safer­Car app and en­ter your ve­hi­cle iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber, or VIN, or in­for­ma­tion about equip­ment or car seats, you can get no­ti­fi­ca­tions, the agency said in a news re­lease.

The app is avail­able for down­load now in the Google Play store and the Ap­ple App store.

The app will check for re­calls daily, in the back­ground, and send alerts to your smart­phone when a new re­call is is­sued or if there are any un­re­paired re­calls on your ve­hi­cle.

NHTSA said that user data is only stored on the phone and not sent back to the agency, which should limit pri­vacy con­cerns. The app should also di­rect you to a deal­er­ship mak­ing repairs.

“In to­day’s world, smart­phones are the tool of choice for many tasks — and the up­dated Safer­Car app is a new safety tool at the pub­lic’s dis­posal,” NHTSA Deputy Ad­min­is­tra­tor James Owens said in the re­lease. “The Safer­Car app al­lows you to store your in­for­ma­tion lo­cally on your de­vice and then the app goes to work to in­form you of re­calls as they oc­cur — and own­ers can more quickly get their free re­call repairs sched­uled.”

PHOTO IL­LUS­TRA­TION/ UN­DER­LY­ING IM­AGE STOCK.ADOBE.COM

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