In 2014, automakers set a new record for the number of car models recalled because of safety defects. In 2015, they obliterated that record.
Nearly 900 models were recalled last year, translating to 64 million recalled cars in the US.
More frightening than this, however, is the fact that many drivers never get their cars repaired after a recall is announced.
There are 47 million unrepaired vehicles with open recalls throughout the country, reports a new study by Carfax. That means that roughly 1 in 5 cars on the road are currently in need of serious repairs.
According to Carfax Communications Director Larry Gamache, the vehicles with the highest rate of outstanding safety defects are those marketed to families. Minivans and SUVs top the list of unrepaired vehicles.
The state with the most unrepaired vehicles on the road is Texas, followed by Mississippi, Alaska and Utah.
Major recalls in the last year include Toyota’s recall of 2.86 million sport utility vehicles because of seatbelts that tend to separate from their seats upon impact, as well as the recall of vehicles with Takata airbags, which have killed 8 people and injured over 100 to date. Just this month, Honda announced a recall of roughly 45,000 Civics due to occurrences of engine failure while driving.
All recalled vehicles can be repaired at American dealerships at no cost to the owner. The fact that 25% of recalled vehicles never get repaired means that consumers are either unaware of the defect, or too lazy to get it fixed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now working with car companies to improve the rate of repairs. This includes a “Safe Cars Save Lives” campaign, spreading awareness about vehicle recalls.
“The campaign makes a simple point: Taking action on a safety recall keeps you and the people you love safe,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.
To see if your vehicle has been recalled, check the NHTSA’s VIN look-up page here.
Sources: Associated Press, “Honda to recall new Civics because engines can fail,” Chicago Sun-Times, 8 February 2016.
Horie, Masatsugu and Jeff Plungis, “Toyota Recalls SUVs After Seat Belt Separated in Fatal Crash,” Bloomberg, 17 February 2016.
Krisher, Tom, “U.S. Auto Recalls in 2015 Break Record Set Year Before,” Claims Journal, 26 January 2016.
Shepardson, David and Bernie Woodall, “Takata recalls air bag inflators in 5.1 million U.S. vehicles,” Reuters, 26 January 2016.
Woodall, Bernie, “Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. Vehicles on Roads Today Have Open Safety Recalls,” Claims Journal, 16 February 2016.