Warning – Do you know if your car has been recalled?

Warning – Do you know if your car has been recalled?

The sad news of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin’s death should give all car drivers a wake-up call about the safety of their own vehicles. The Jeep that caused his death had been recalled in April this year. This being the case, we have to wonder if this tragic accident could have been avoided.

So we’re asking the question – have you ever checked to see if your car, or a car you’re about to buy, has been recalled. If you’ve answered no, you should find out. Here we give you the key information you need to check if your car has ever been recalled, so you can keep your family, and others, safe on the roads.

Let's start with some of the facts. In 2015, the number of car recalls rose by 30% on the previous year, with a total of 39 recalls throughout the year. And each year almost a million cars are recalled back to dealerships so that they can be checked for safety and fixed, if need be. That’s a lot of cars.

On top of that, it seems we’re not that good at remembering to ask about recalls when we buy a car either. HPI Check revealed that four out of five secondhand car buyers don’t ask if the car they are buying has been recalled. Which could lead to a lot of potentially dangerous cars on the road.

And don’t think that just because the car has passed its MOT, there’s no recall on it. MOTs only check very specific things and, sadly, there’s no communication between the MOT database and the car recall database.

Of course, not all recalls are related to safety concerns that could cause potentially life-threatening situations, like in Yelchin’s case. For example, the recent recall of thousands of cars from manufacturers, including VW, Audi, Mercedes and Porsche, over fudged emission readings, isn’t something that would put your family at immediate risk of harm on the road.

So how would you know if your car had been recalled?

We have a robust system in place in the UK to make sure that car recall information is given to the public quickly and efficiently. So, if a car manufacturer recalls a car, they should contact all DVLA registered keepers of that vehicle, by letter to let them know. The letter will detail:

• what’s wrong with your car

• what could happen if you do nothing about it

• what needs to be done to repair the fault

• what you need to do to get the issue resolved

All car recalls that affect owners in the UK are also published on the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) website.

Any work done to correct the problem is completed at no cost to you, no matter how long after the recall notice you choose to have it done. Although, it is, of course, in your best interests to get the car fixed as soon as possible, to keep you and other road users safe.

As a car owner, you have a responsibility to make sure your car is properly maintained and roadworthy. So, failing to do anything about a recall could mean your car is no longer roadworthy, which also has an impact on your insurance, potentially making it invalid. And, as we all know, driving without valid insurance is against the law.

How does this affect buying a secondhand car?

That depends on whether you buy the car from a dealer or privately. If you’re buying from a dealer, it’s their responsibility to make sure any car they sell is roadworthy, so it should be done as one of the pre-sale checks. But that doesn’t stop you asking, just to be sure.

If you buy in a private sale, things are a little different. You can ask if the current owner has ever received a recall letter about their vehicle. And, if they did, what they did about it. But the reality is, they may also have bought the car in a private sale and not checked to see if any recalls are outstanding. So, to be on the safe side, you should check yourself, before moving forward with any purchase.

Thankfully, checking to see if your car, or a car you’re looking to buy, has been recalled is simple.

How to check if your car has been recalled

The DVSAhave made it really easy for you to find out if your car has been the subject of a recall. Just enter your car details and you see this:

Contact the manufacturer, or one of their dealerships, to find out if the fault has been corrected.

So now you are armed with all the information you need to make sure your current car, or one you have your eye on, is safe and roadworthy.

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