When we buy products in Tampa Bay, we expect them to work properly. This is especially true when we purchase a new or used vehicle. In these situations, we should be able to anticipate that the car does not have a safety defect that could cause serious or even fatal injuries. However, product recalls are issued with some frequency, and consumers in the Tampa Bay area often are impacted by both local and nationwide recalls. Given the seriousness of an automobile recall, it is important for Floridians to learn more about these recalls and how they can stay ahead of the game. If your car is subject to a safety recall, you should be able to find out as soon as possible so that you can avoid driving until the problem has been repaired.
But how can you know whether your car has been subject to a recall?
Use the Internet to Keep Track of Safety Issues Related to Your Car or Truck
There are a number of different easy ways to use the internet to keep track of product recalls that impact your car or truck. According to a report from NBC News, one of the easiest ways to stay in-the-know about auto recalls is by downloading a MyCARFAX app to your phone. This app is free for users of both Android and iPhone devices, and it allows you to check for recalls on your vehicle while also keeping track of service and maintenance history (as well as due dates for maintenance). If you do not use a smartphone, or if you prefer to simply use your desktop or laptop computer to check for recalls, you can user SaferCar.gov, a website powered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This website allows you to enter information about your vehicle and to learn about recalls tied to your car. You can even sign up for alerts in the event of a new and unexpected recall.
To use either the app we mentioned or the NHTSA website, however, you will need to know your automobile's 17-character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) number. A fact sheet from the NHTSA notes that many car owners do not know what a VIN is, and they also do not know where to find it. In order to know for certain if your car is unsafe to drive due to a recall, you need to find the VIN. In most situations, your VIN is printed in the lower left part of your car's windshield. If you do not see it there, it should also be printed on your vehicle's registration, and depending upon on your insurance company, it also might be printed on your insurance card. If you do not see the VIN in any of these places, open the driver-side door. On either the frame of the door itself, or on the frame where the door closes, you should see this 17-character number.
Why Should I Take the Time to Check My Car's VIN for Recalls?
As the NBC News report underscores, on average about 25 percent of cars that are subject to a safety recall do not get repaired. This means that the driver(s) of those cars can be in danger of a serious injury, and sometimes, when those cars are sold or traded at an auto dealership, a new buyer does not know about the recall. As such, additional drivers could be at risk down the road when a safety recall is not heeded.
Given that there were about 51 million auto recalls in 2015 alone, it is important to stay aware of product defects that could impact your safety.
Contact a Tampa Bay Product Liability Lawyer
Defective products can cause serious and devastating injuries. If you were injured because of a product defect, you should discuss your case with a Tampa product liability attorney. Contact the Wells Law Group, P.A. to learn more about filing a claim.