NHTSA SaferCar tool hunts lingering recalls for your motor

If you've been following the car industry recently, you'll know that the number of recalls have increased to the point where you'd be forgiven for assuming more cars are headed back into dealerships than driving off them. Now, there's a new NHTSA tool to pinpoint whether drivers are affected by a recall, or if a used car they're considering buying has gone without the necessary repair, as well as some new regulations to force manufacturers into being up-to-date with their data.

The new tool uses Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) to track down each car or motorcycle. As a result, the NHTSA is requiring all manufacturers to add VIN search support to their own sites, and to update the data weekly at the very least.

Without that commitment, the SaferCar search might not bring up the most accurate results.

While the database will be of use to car owners who may have missed a notification from the vehicle's manufacturer that it is due a recall-related repair, it's also likely to find favor among those shopping for a second-hand car. The NHTSA also recommends that those renting a vehicle might want to put its VIN through the search tool, just in case the rental agency hasn't been up to date with its servicing.

The VIN itself is usually to be found on the driver's side of the dashboard, or on the door post on the same side. You might need to open the door in order to actually see it, however.