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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

NHTSA's New SaferCar App Hopes to Stop Deadly and Serious Recall Notification Delays

Unlike mailed notices, the US Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration's (NHTSA) government app will tell you about recalls right away.  With more of us taking road trips during the pandemic, why risk the safety of your family? It is one thing to miss or ignore the pesky recalls that occur for a minor bracket, but if the recall is about something that could cause injury or even death, don't get into the habit of ignoring and missing a serious recall. 

In October of 2019 there was a major recall of 928,000 Toyota, Scion and Lexus Cars, Minivans, SUVs and Pickup Trucks.  Why? The same flawed design as the Takata airbags from years before: a risk of explosion given enough exposure to high humidity or significant temperature cycling.  Another 2019 recall involved Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling approximately 30,354 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan minivans for a seat issues.  In the event seat fail, the seat or seat belt may not adequately restrain the occupant, with the seat potentially being ejected from its location in the vehicle.

Studies show that nearly 40 percent of consumers avoid vehicle safety recalls because they fear their dealership will recommend additional repairs, according to a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Bundling recalls with regularly scheduled maintenance is one way to boost participation, according to 52 percent of respondents, while 51 percent supported receiving incentives such as free oil changes or tanks of gas for complying with the recalls.

Other findings:

  • Although 81 percent of respondents said they would get a recall fixed if the nearest facility was less than 15 minutes away, that figure fell to 45 percent for facilities more than 30 minutes away.
  • 74 percent would get a recall fixed if the wait was one week or less, compared with 27 percent for waits exceeding six months.
  • About 60 percent of respondents believe states should make addressing recall fixes a prerequisite for renewing annual vehicle registration; 61 percent believe addressing recall fixes should be required before vehicle resale.

These are difficult concerns to fix.  Hopefully the recent app updates announced by the NHTSA will help us be aware of potentially dangerous recalls so that we can schedule repair before our upcoming road trips and have more information to tell us the severity of the issue. 

According to their press release dated August 27, 2020, the ..."United States Department of Transportation announced the launch of a redesigned mobile app, SaferCar, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with an emphasis on safety and convenience for the public.  Available for both iOS and Android, it allows users to save their vehicles, car seats, equipment, or tires in a virtual garage on their smartphone.  The app automatically checks, in the background, whether a recall is issued and alerts users when a recall occurs. 

“In today’s world, smartphones are the tool of choice for many tasks—and the updated SaferCar app is a new safety tool at the public’s disposal,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens.  “The SaferCar app allows you to store your information locally on your device and then the app goes to work to inform you of recalls as they occur—and owners can more quickly get their free recall repairs scheduled.” 

The same tools that power the website, combined with the capabilities of a mobile app, enable an enhanced experience for mobile users to access critical safety information without the need for NHTSA to develop additional services—saving taxpayer dollars.

Because each user’s information is stored only on their device, no personal information can be shared with NHTSA—ensuring a safe and private user experience.  Once the user sets up their virtual garage, the app checks for safety recalls every day, and will notify the user if an issue requires their attention. 

For any roadtrip, consider having a dash cam. They are important for safety and to capture images when that bear walks in front of your vehicle! We love this one from Amazon. It is highly rated and wide-angle. Please click on the image below to learn more from Amazon. These links help support our blog and don't cost you anything extra if you purchase it. Thank you! 


For more detailed information on the SaferCar app and to download it, visit"

Bottom Line:

The Safer Car App by the NHTSA is easy to use and could save lives.  Make sure you have your VIN number available, because you will need to enter that.  Also, this is great information to have when you resell your car.  Wouldn't you want to see safety information when you buy a used car? 


  1. This sounds so useful! I'm definitely one of those people that avoid going to the dealership because it's such a hassle and isn't an easy experience. This would be super useful to have to check before long drives or road trips. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sounds great! If it can help save lives, it's definitely an app worth having.

  3. This is very interesting and also very confusing. It can help save lives so hopefully will be done carefully.