On Sunday, March 10 at 2 a.m., daylight saving time begins. You’ll lose an hour of sleep, but you’ll gain an extra hour of sunlight in the evenings. You can also take this occasion as your cue to check for recalls on your vehicle.
Daylight saving time has long been used as a reminder to check smoke detector batteries to protect your home from fire. It’s also a time to check for vehicle recalls. Every vehicle recall affects the safety of your car or truck and its drivers, passengers, and others on the road. So add checking for recalls to your spring and fall to-do lists.
CHECK FOR SAFETY, CHECK FOR RECALLS
If your vehicle is subject to a recall, manufacturers are required to notify you and then fix your car or truck for free. But with cars staying on the road longer and changing hands between multiple owners, it can be difficult to reach and inform the current owner. To be sure, and safe, take these three steps toward a safer vehicle.
Find your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The 17-character VIN is like your vehicle’s Social Security Number. It’s a unique code that identifies that car or truck. It’s on a label inside your driver’s side door jamb. Or, while standing outside the vehicle at the driver’s side door, look down at where the windshield meets the dashboard. You’ll find the VIN stamped under the glass. You might also find it on your car’s registration or insurance documents.
Search using your VIN at NHTSA.gov/Recalls. Your search will tell you if there’s an open safety recall affecting your vehicle and what steps to take. Or sign up for e-mail recall alerts at NHTSA.gov/alerts.
Get your vehicle repaired immediately if you have an open recall. Follow the steps indicated in your recall notice. Your vehicle’s manufacturer is required by law to address your recall—and to do it for free.
In 2018, there were over 900 recalls affecting over 33.5 million vehicles in the United States. Every vehicle recall is serious. Yet only about 75 percent of vehicles recalled in a given year are ever fixed. That puts you, your passengers, and others on the road at risk.
REPORT A PROBLEM
Do you believe your vehicle has a problem that might be a safety defect? Tell NHTSA. Reports from consumers are essential to helping the agency identify safety defects.
CHILD SEATS AND TIRES, TOO
Safety recalls can also affect child car seats and tires. You can check for those, too, at NHTSA.gov/Recalls.
A GLARING REMINDER
While we’re talking about daylight saving, remember that turning the clocks ahead means more sunlight in the evening during a driving commute. You could face more sun glare, making it difficult to see the road. It also means you’ll likely be operating on a little less sleep. Make sure you’re taking these factors into account to ensure safe driving.