New app to aid in future car recalls

This year has been a terrible one for recalls. In the US alone, over 60 million cars had to be recalled by the manufacturers due to manufacturing errors or faulty parts that could potentially lead to fatal scenarios. You have to imagine too, that out of that 60 million cars, a good number haven’t been recalled because the owners missed the letter or didn’t hear about it and are now driving around in something particularly dangerous. Fortunately then, an organisation called Carfax, that supplies vehicle history reports to individuals and businesses on used cars and other vehicles, has updated its application to check your VIN number to see if it applies to any currently known recalls.

On top of seeing it there were any current recalls, the app can also see if there were any you missed. While that might not be the most heartening, it’s good to know if your car still contains faulty parts. The guys at KomoNews took the app for a spin and found that one of the vehicles near where they were testing it had a faulty airbag which the owner was unaware of.


According to CarFax however, this isn’t too surprising. In the state of Washington alone, it believes there could be as many as 950,000 cars being used today with faulty hardware that should have been recalled and fixed by the manufacturer. Thousands of those cars will be sold to other unsuspecting drivers this year, potentially leading to nasty accidents. What the Carfax app can now allow people to do though, is to check the vehicle’s VIN number when buying it, to see if there’s any dangerous parts or any particular reason to avoid a certain model from a certain age.

This is a new feature of Carfax’s app, which can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store and the Apple App store. Along with the recall VIN checking feature though, the app can also handle things like checking your car’s service history, as well as any faults on the vehicle’s records that the current owner might not be telling you about. All of its data is collected from publicly available sources, so chances are not everything that’s been done to the car over the years has been recorded, but for the most part, it’s useful and usable data.

Of course this is a free, but commercially manufactured app. If you want something a little more government approved, there’s the official NHTSA recall database which can check your VIN off against a list of current and previous recalls, though it doesn’t have all the companion features of the Carfax app.


    Jon Martindale

    Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.

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