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Floridians can search for vehicle recall history before buying

As we noted here earlier this year, automotive recalls are at their highest number in history. For those Floridians who are the original owners of our cars, it may be inconvenient to take our vehicle in to be fixed, but at least we know we've done it. For people who are looking for or already own a used car, there's often no way to be certain if all of its recall repairs have been made. In fact, only 25 percent of all cars on which recalls have been issued have had all of the repairs done.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has launched a new tool, www.safercar.gov/vinlookup. It allows people to look up a car on the NHTSA website by its vehicle identification number. The tool provides all recalls issued on the car in the past 15 years, and lists any recalls that are still outstanding.

The web tool, which was completed a year after NHTSA first announced plans for it, is also worth checking even by people who are the first and only owners of their vehicle. Owners may think they've been diligent about handling recalls. However, we all know that things get lost in the mail or just forgotten about. It's a good idea to make sure that you haven't missed any manufacturer recalls, and have them taken care of it you have.

There are a number of places to find your VIN. On the vehicle itself, it can be found on a plate at the base of the driver's side of your windshield. It should also be located on your vehicle's documentation that you carry with you, such as registration and insurance card.

This new tool provided by NHTSA will help Floridians become more knowledgeable buyers of used cars and provide all car owners with important safety information about their vehicles. This can only help reduce the number of injuries, accidents and deaths caused by defective products in the cars on our roads.

Source: USA Today, "NHTSA launches VIN-searchable recall finder" Kelsey Mays, Cars.com, Aug. 20, 2014

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