Attorney General Alerts

Auto Recalls Causing Headaches

September 30, 2015

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 1.3 million consumers are potentially affected by more than 50 recalls that have been announced for vehicles or parts of vehicles in September alone.

Last week, General Motors (GM) reached a settlement with the United States Department of Justice for faulty ignition switches, which reportedly resulted in at least 124 deaths along with numerous injuries. GM is required to pay $900 million, with an additional $575 million to resolve a number of private lawsuits. Meanwhile, NHTSA continues to investigate Japanese manufacturer Takata for ongoing problems with their air bag inflators used in approximately 19 million vehicles. The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office is participating in both investigations.

Recalls are issued when minimum federal motor vehicle safety standards are not met on items like brakes, tires, lighting, air bags, safety belts and child restraints.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to encourage Arkansans to take a proactive approach to vehicle recalls.

“Manufacturer recalls can be worrisome and may seem complicated for consumers,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But Arkansans should consider these notices urgent warnings and make plans to have the issue corrected quickly. It is important that everyone understands these recalls and how to determine whether vehicles are subject to a recall.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help Arkansans research recalls:

  • Visit to use the NHTSA’s database to look up recalls, investigations and complaints by a vehicle’s year, make and model.
  • Contact the vehicle manufacturer or car dealer to search for recalls by the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which is visible from the outside of the vehicle through the windshield on the driver’s side.
  • Sign up at to receive email notifications from the NHTSA to learn when manufacturers file new recalls.
  • Confirm with NHTSA or with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office to make sure recall notifications are valid and real.

Manufacturers must notify owners of all affected vehicles via mail or phone with information that identifies the problems and evaluates the safety risk. Consumers must be told how the problem can be corrected, how long it will take to correct the issue and where the repairs can be made. The NHTSA may also require manufacturers to notify the public of recalls through advertisements or other notices. Recall repairs only cover the part or parts that can be replaced or repaired and do not provide the owners with a new vehicle.

If the vehicle was purchased new, manufacturers have the name and address of vehicle owners, along with the VIN number of all the vehicles. Arkansans purchasing a used car should notify the manufacturer with the updated information. The vehicle is still eligible for recall repairs, including those that occurred prior to the purchase that have not been fixed. Almost all recalls will be fixed at no charge to the owner.

For more information about auto recalls or other consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit or

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