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Any recalls on your car? New app tracks it for you

Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 4:38 PM CDT
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - As we head into the final holiday weekend of summer, a lot of people will be hopping in the car for a road trip. The last thing most of us probably think about is a recall on our cars, but millions are issued every year.

That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), responsible for setting and enforcing safety standards across the U.S., is making it easier to tell you about recalls. NHTSA just launched a new app called SaferCar.

It’s simple to use.

You enter the make and model of your vehicle, then the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the app automatically checks for any recalls issued.

If there are recalls you should know about, it will list them right away.

If you get the green light, you leave your car parked in the ‘virtual garage’ and forget about it. The app checks for recalls daily and alerts you if one is issued.

The agency promises the information you enter is only stored on your device, not with NHTSA, and the information is never sold.

“A vehicle could be on the road for two, three, four years and some of these problems start to come up at that time frame, so that’s what’s really important about the recalls and being able to track it, especially if the vehicle has changed ownerships,” explains Captain Dan Sandberg, who leads the patrol division at the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

After the kinds of crashes his deputies see every year, he says any help making vehicles safer is useful.

Sandberg thinks this could be especially helpful for people buying used cars when manufacturers can’t track down new owners

SaferCar also lets you enter equipment information about trailers, tires and even car seats.

“You want to be making sure you check out your expiration dates on those car seats, and there’s a lot of times it ends up on recalls with those devices once they get them out there and start finding things that are wrong that they weren’t aware of,” says Sandberg.

NHTSA says about 25 percent of recalls are not fixed every year. That’s a high number considering it says there were 53 million vehicle, car seat, tire or equipment recalls last year alone.

“You have side airbags, steering wheel airbags, so many around the vehicle, but it’s still goes in conjunction with that seat belt,” adds Sandberg. “That’s what people have got to remember. Just because those airbags are in a vehicle, you still have to wear your seat belt, because in combination, those things keep you very safe.”

Click here to get SaferCar for iOS.

Click here to get SaferCar for Android.

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