NHTSA SaferCar app notifies you about recalls for cars, tires, car seats and more

Ben Hsu
·2 min read

Keeping up with recalls can be a hassle, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's SaferCar app may ease that burden. It's kind of a one-stop shop for all automotive recall information, and you don't have to actively search for the information. Just enter your VIN and you can just sit back passively until a recall is issued, and let the app alert you.

Until the app, it was difficult to make sure recall information reached the people it needed to. Owners either had to visit the NHTSA website periodically, wait until automakers notified them by mail, or simply hear about it via some third party news outlet. Obviously, this presented a lot of problems.

If the car had been sold and the next owner didn't update the automaker, they wouldn't receive any recall notices by mail. And with only the largest recalls making the headlines, it was easy to miss this crucial information. In fact, NHTSA estimates that a whopping 40% of vehicles with open recalls don't get repaired.

A 2017 pilot program NHTSA ran with the state of Maryland notified owners of recall information when they renewed their registration. Between April 2018 and January 2020, they found 456,000 cars with 943,000 open recalls that had gone unaddressed.

The SaferCar app allows users to create a virtual garage of cars by entering multiple VINs. Getting ahead of privacy concerns, NHTSA says that any data entered is only kept on the user's device, never stored with the agency.

The app isn't just limited to cars and trucks, either. It can also notify you of safety issues with RVs, motorcycles, trailers, tires, child car seats, and specific certain vehicle components.

SaferCar is available for download on Google Android and Apple iOS phones.