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New Auto Recall Database in the Works

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working on a new and improved online database for vehicle recalls. It is expected to be up and running within one year.

The updated auto recall database is intended to increase the number of defective vehicles that are repaired. In 2012 alone, over 16 million vehicles were recalled. However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that just 70 percent of recall repairs on cars and trucks are completed within an 18-month time frame. Some of these vehicles are then resold to unsuspecting owners.

The NHTSA’s current database provides recall information for motor vehicles, motorcycles child safety seats, and tires. The campaigns include motor vehicle products that experienced a safety-related defect or did not comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards. However, consumers are only able to search by make and model.

Under the NHTSA’s proposal, owners and prospective owners would be able to use an online search tool at to search by the vehicle identification number — or VIN — to find out if a specific vehicle has been recalled. More importantly, the database will also indicate if it’s been repaired.