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New free NHTSA app can alert drivers about recalls

September 4, 2020
The U.S. government’s road safety agency is offering a smartphone app that will alert drivers if their vehicles are recalled.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rolled out the free app for both Android and Apple phones on Aug. 27.
Owners key in or scan their 17-digit vehicle identification number, and the app will search the agency’s database for recalls. If there is an open recall, the app will send an alert, the agency said.
People also can add child seats, trailers and tires, and the app will check those for recalls.
Private services such as Carfax already offer similar apps for vehicle recalls, but this is a first by NHTSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Owners already could go to and check the NHTSA database for recalls. also has a prominent link to the NHTSA database.
Full information about the app can be found at
The safety agency said vehicle information is kept on the owner’s phone and no personal information is shared with the government.
"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," NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said in a statement.
The NHTSA says that one in four vehicles now on the road has an unrepaired recall, which is a safety risk. Automakers must fix safety recall problems at no cost to owners. The CATA’s current advertising encourages car owners to take their vehicles to a new-car dealership to have them checked for open recalls, then to get the free recall service work.
Last year, 53 million vehicles, car seats, tires and equipment were recalled, according to the agency.