Auto mechanics, California (photo by T. Voekler, via Wikimedia)Enlarge Photo
We've seen an especially high number of auto recalls over the past couple of years. In 2014 alone, 64 million vehicles in the U.S. were recalled -- a new record. Thanks to the ongoing Takata airbag fiasco and Volkswagen's Dieselgate crisis, dealer service centers will likely be busy for months, if not years to come.
A new study from Carfax says that nearly one in every five vehicles in America is currently in need of repair due to a recall. Depending on what you drive and where you live, you might be more likely than your friends and family members to be in that number.
The study says that 47 million of the country's 258.5 million registered vehicles require fixing due to a recall, or 18.1 percent of the total number of rides on the road. Last year, the number of vehicles with open recalls was closer to 46 million.
Your chances of driving one of those vehicles are greatest if you live in Alaska, Mississippi, Texas, Utah, or West Virginia. Owners of SUVs and minivans are more likely than their car- and truck-driving peers to have a recall notice sitting in their mailbox.
Sadly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 25 percent of all recalled vehicles never get repaired.
Of course, it bears mentioning that Carfax has a financial interest in making people keenly aware that the car they drive (or the one that they may buy) could be subject to a recall. Those sorts of concerns drive awareness of the company's vehicle history reports, which consumers and dealers have decidedly mixed feelings about.
If you're in the market for a new car, or if you just want to see whether your current ride is under recall, we'd suggest starting with a quick visit to NHTSA's VIN lookup tool. Simply enter your vehicle identification number in the box, and NHTSA can tell you what needs to be done.
Shoppers may want to take the extra step of pulling a vehicle history report from Carfax or one of its many competitors, which can provide additional info about other repairs carried out on the vehicle, include accidents in which it might've been involved.