WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Millions of Americans are driving with safety recalls on their vehicles and might not even know it.
And officials say that can be dangerous, or even deadly.
Pick any car on the road and there’s a good chance it’s got a safety recall.
“We had 881 recalls last year involving 38 million vehicles,” said James Owens, acting director of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Owens added that not knowing your vehicle is under recall can be dangerous.
“Maybe there’s a problem in a system where, if you’re in a crash, for instance, maybe you’re not as protected as the way you should be,” he said.
He points out the massive recall of defective Takata airbags, a problem connected to at least two dozen deaths.
“Unfortunately, too many people don’t think about their recalls,” Owens said.
This is Vehicle Safety Recalls Week, and the NHTSA wants all drivers to check if a recall affects their vehicle, and then get it fixed.
“You can get your recalls repaired for free, but you can’t get your recalls repaired if you don’t know about them,” Owens said.
To find out, head over to the NHTSA, type in your VIN number, and see what comes up.
Keep in mind, recalls can affect newer cars too.
“A vehicle recall can happen to a vehicle of just about any age,” Owens said.
Yet despite the high number of vehicles recalls, he said the data shows too many drivers don’t get their recalls fixed.
“Unfortunately, the numbers are a lot lower than you’d think they are,” Owens said. “Sometimes not even half. It depends on the vehicle, depends on the recall.”
Officials say any recall issue can be fixed for free at a manufacturer’s dealership.