Tips, Tricks & Trends

Safety Recall — There’s an App for That

Recalls are a pain. The manufacturer has to save face by issuing the recall, and the consumer is stuck trying to get an appointment to have an inspection or repair accomplished. But, those are not the hard parts or a recall. The hard part is notifying people after vehicles have change hands quickly. Also, sometimes mailers go to old addresses, get confused with junk mail, or go to people who might be intimidated by a language barrier. To resolve that latency, the NHTSA now has a solution, a mobile app.

The SaferCar recall app

The word, RECALL, is seen displayed on a smartphone.
The word, RECALL, is seen displayed on a smartphone. | Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Traffic Safety Administration recently rolled out a new app for mobile phones. The SaferCar app can be downloaded for IOS and Android mobile users. Users can type in or scan their vehicle identification number (VIN) into the app. If the user has more than one vehicle, they can set up a virtual garage in the app with each vehicle’s information. If the app identifies that a recall has been issued, the user will be directed to a local dealership to set up an appointment for the repair. 

According to NHTSA Deputy Administrator, James Owens, 

“In today’s world, smartphones are the tool of choice for many tasks, and the updated SaferCar app is a new safety tool at the public’s disposal. The SaferCar app allows you to store your information locally on your device, and then the app goes to work to inform you of recalls as they occur, and owners can more quickly get their free recall repairs scheduled.”

The NHTSA says that 53 million people were affected by recalls in 2019. Those actions covered vehicles, tires, safety seats, and equipment. A total of 966 recalls in total were involved. That is not a small number.

The NHTSA SaferCar app logo is seen at the bottom of this image. This app will alert users of a new or unrepaired recall.
The NHTSA SaferCar app logo is seen at the bottom of this image | NHTSA

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The app meets people with recall information right where they are at, on their cell phones

Motorbiscuit has reported before how there are still over 12 million vehicles out there with dangerous recalled airbags. Over recent years, the notifications have gone out. But, the total number of notifications versus the number of serviced vehicles are not adding up. So, to ensure a better connection opportunity, the SaferCap app tries to meet people right where they are at, on their cell phones. 

The NHTSA app checks daily – set it and forget it

Once people download the app, it will check daily for recalls on the user’s VINs. When a new recall or unrepaired recall is identified, an alert will be sent to the phone. A local dealership will also be identified to set up an appointment. A video from the NHTSA about the app is below.

RELATED: What’s the Difference Between a Recall and a Technical Service Bulletin?

Recalls can still be signed up for at the NHTSA’s website

Speaking with our friends at Cars.com, Lucia Sanchez, a spokesperson for the NHTSA said, “Prior to this new app, and still available today, the public can sign up on the website to be notified of all recalls, or recalls for vehicles by make, model, model year, as well as tires, and child restraint systems. However, there was no way to sign up to be notified of a recall specific to your vehicle by VIN.”

The NHTSA’s SaferCar app is free. Mobile users can go to their app store and search for SaferCar. Then it is just a matter of installing it, opening it up, and scanning the vehicle VIN, or typing it in. In essence, this is a free app that can save lives. So, it might be worth it to spread the word.