Total Recall

What to do when your car is on the recall list

Phoenix, March 26, 2014. It seems like a different vehicle is getting recalled almost every day.

Two recent recalls serve as perfect examples, as two manufacturers recalled more than 3.5 million vehicles this month. As an automotive resource, AAA advises motorists to get the needed repairs if a recall or service bulletin is issued for their vehicle.

The two recalls issued this month are just a fraction of what occurs annually. Auto manufacturers recalled almost 22 million cars last year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“Increasing consumer awareness has driven a significant proportion of the growing number of recalls,” said John Walter, director of automotive repair for AAA Arizona. “In fact, almost 7 million out of the 22 million total vehicles recalled in 2013 were the result of NHTSA investigations that were prompted by consumer complaints.”

How to determine if a safety recall or a technical service bulletin has been issued:

  • As your vehicle is brought in for service, ask the service advisor to check for technical service bulletins. In some cases, repairs listed in the bulletin will be covered by the manufacturer “service campaign” that provides free or discounted repairs, even if the warranty has expired. 
  • Whether you buy a vehicle from a private seller or dealer, you will receive recall information once you register your vehicle through the MVD. Owners who move should notify the vehicle manufacturer by using the post card provided in the warranty booklet or by giving the dealer the new address.

“If there’s a safety recall for your vehicle, contact your local dealer and have the repair completed as soon as possible and remember to ask if you’re entitled to a rental car while the repairs are conducted,” Walter said. “Also, be sure to keep a copy of the work for your repair records.”

Recall resources and tools:

  • Label it: All manufacturers must now use a distinctive label on required mailings that notify owners of recalled vehicles to avoid mistakenly discarding critical notices. The new label states “Important Safety Recall Information” in red and black, along with the phrase, “Issued in Accordance with Federal Law,” and U.S. Dept. of Transportation and NHTSA logos.
  • App alert: NHTSA’s SaferCar app, available on Smartphones and some tablets, helps consumers find recall information and vehicle safety information. It allows consumers to search the agency’s 5-Star Safety Ratings for vehicles by make and model and subscribe to automatic notices about vehicle recalls.
  • Online option: Consumers also can go to and start at the right-hand side of the home page under “Safety Recalls” and follow the prompts to enter their vehicle information to find out if a recall has been announced.

AAA Arizona is an automotive resource. For more information, go to

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 850,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.