Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free!
I drive a ten year old car and it has been out of warranty for quite a while. Over the years I have received recall notices in the mail for various parts of the car and got fixes for free. However, not all of these recall notices get to the appropriate car owners so it is possible that your car has a defective part. Fortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a very well organized and searchable database for all types of vehicle related recalls.
All you have to do is to go to the Recalls and Defects webpage and search for your vehicle, equipment, child restraint, or tire type and you will see all the safety recalls that has happened. The database is updated nightly and it is fairly accurate. As an example, I searched for recalls on 1999 Honda Accords, and a list of 14 recalls came up. On each recall you can click the "Summary" link and check how you can get the part repaired. Usually you could just go to an authorized dealership and get your carpart fixed or switched out for free.
I also found the "Tires" section very useful since it shows you what tires can be replaced for free due to safety recalls. This may be worth checking out since tire manufacturers usually have no good way to track their customers and it is unlikely you would get a recall notice from them in the mail. Defective tires may be very dangerous, and they should be replaced as soon as possible.
In addition to useful recall information, the website allows consumers to file complaints about their vehicles and related equipment. If a problem is prevalent enough then the NHTSA would issue recalls to make the roads a bit safer for everyone.
So next time before you fork over your cash to fix a broken car part, you should definitely check if it has been recalled. Also, as a preventative measure you should check if you are driving with defective parts so that your car can become safer for you and your family.