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Check to Protect

Check to Protect

National Safety Council

It’s time for your road trip. In preparation, you work through a checklist to make sure you are ready. All the essentials are packed and then you remember, “I need to check my vehicle.” You look at the tires to ensure they are properly inflated, check the fluid levels, fill the gas tank and maybe even have a mechanic inspect the vehicle. However, one important safety item often is overlooked. Did you check if your vehicle has an open safety recall?

A safety recall is issued when a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined a vehicle or vehicle equipment creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards. Each recall is different. In some cases, the safety concern is moderate, while others are very serious. For example, the Takata air bag recall is the largest in U.S. history, impacting more than 67 million vehicles. Defective Takata air bags were installed in nearly every vehicle during a 10-year period. When a faulty air bag deploys in a crash, its inflator can break apart, sending shrapnel throughout the vehicle. The risk of rupture is higher after long-term exposure to high heat and humid climates. It only takes one summer in Texas to understand why the air bag recall should be a top priority for Texans and others living in the South.

The good news is getting a recall repaired is free of charge to the vehicle owner if an authorized dealer completes the service. However, even with the repair being free, some vehicle owners often express concerns about how a safety recall repair affects them:

  • They worry about the value of the vehicle decreasing. Having a safety recall repaired for resale can actually be a positive upgrade.
  • They worry about the vehicle being outside the warranty period. With a safety recall, the vehicle does not need to be under warranty to be repaired free of charge.
  • They might also worry about the time it takes the dealer to repair the recall. It’s best to call the closest authorized dealer and ask them if parts are in stock and when you can come in to get a free recall repair. The dealer should be able to provide an estimate. Don’t hesitate to ask about services available such as loaner cars or drop-off/pickup assistance.

The final piece to all this is how to find out if your vehicle has a safety recall prior to your summer road trip. Check to Protect is a national initiative that reminds drivers of the importance of checking for open safety recalls on their vehicles and getting their vehicles repaired free at an authorized dealership. To find out if you have an open recall on your vehicle, you can go to CheckToProtect.org and enter your license plate number or 17-character vehicle identification number (found on your driver-side dash, inside the driver-side door, or on most vehicle registration or insurance cards).

More than 50 million vehicles — 1 in 5 vehicles on the road today — have open safety recalls, and automakers don’t always have the right contact information for owners of older and used vehicles. The best action is to add checking for safety recalls to your regular vehicle maintenance schedule. Using CheckToProtect.org is quick, easy and can give you peace of mind before heading out on that summer adventure.


For questions about the campaign or information about how to become more involved, please contact Lonny Haschel (Lonny.Haschel@nsc.org), program manager for Check to Protect.

  • 11 June 2023
  • Author: USACRC Editor
  • Number of views: 390
  • Comments: 0
Categories: Off-DutyPMV-4