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Safety Recalls

With millions of vehicles recalled, many for serious safety issues, it’s vitally important vehicle owners take steps to ensure they’re aware if a vehicle they own, or are thinking of purchasing, is the subject of a recall and to have recalled vehicles repaired/serviced.

Manufacturers are required to notify the original purchaser of issued recalls. If a consumer purchased a used vehicle and didn’t take steps to contact the vehicle manufacturer to notify them that he or she is now the registered owner, that consumer likely won’t receive any recall notices issued.

Search for Vehicle Recalls

Check Transport Canada’s Road Safety Database to search for recalls. Consumers can also visit the vehicle manufacturer’s website – many make recall information available there.

Note: some manufacturers’ recall searches may not include Canadian vehicles.

Recalls for the same vehicle model can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a searchable database of US issued recalls here.

How to Protect Yourself

Consumers who have purchased a used vehicle should contact their vehicle manufacturer’s customer service department and have them update their database with the current owner's contact information. To do this, consumers will need to provide the vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Consumers can also contact/visit the service department of a franchised dealer for the manufacturer and ask them to update the manufacturer’s database.

Vehicle Recalls – General Information

Recalls are issued by vehicle manufacturers and are regulated federally by Transport Canada. While recalls are not issued by dealers, franchise dealers can be an excellent resource for information related to recalls.

Dealers (and private sellers) can legally sell vehicles with outstanding recalls. It is therefore vital that consumers take steps to educate and protect themselves by searching for recalls and by ensuring they are registered with the vehicle manufacturer to ensure receipt of future recall notices.

Vehicle owners who believe a safety-related defect is affecting their vehicle should report the problem to Transport Canada. This can be done by completing Transport Canada’s Defect Complaint Form or by calling 1-800-333-0510.