As vehicle recalls continue to take up column inches in US publications, Autotrader is using the publicity to try to educate drivers as to the importance of getting affected cars repaired and of taking a proactive approach to maintenance.
Following GM's ignition coil issues, VW's attempts to game its diesel engines' cleanliness and the on-going fallout being caused by potentially problematic airbags made by Takata in tens of millions of vehicles, vehicle recalls are finally getting the sort of news coverage they deserve.
However for every high-profile or esoteric recall - for example the world's media have reported in depth on the fact that this month Porsche issued a recall for every one of its multi-million-dollar 918 Sypder hypercars for fear that an owner's manual misprint may mean two tiny screws are in the wrong holes - there are dozens that pass without notice.
A cursory glance at the US Consumer Affairs automotive recalls page shows that there are already 90 individual open recalls for cars on US roads for 2016 so far and the Porsche 918 isn't one of them. What's more, according to the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over 2015 there were 900 recalls affecting 51 million vehicles.
Unfortunately, consumers often need to be driven to look if their car is facing a recall. According to Autotrader research, only 47% of owners return their cars to a dealership for needed repairs after hearing about a recall.
But even when owners are vigilant, with so many open recalls, and with so many vehicles potentially affected by several different issues, it can be difficult to follow what's going on. It also helps to explain why an estimated 25% of cars under recall never get to see the inside of a dealership garage.
"The number of recent recalls might make it harder to know whether your car is affected," said Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader. "Car recalls can be confusing, but it is imperative that consumers proactively check to see if their cars are affected. When your car has an open recall, it's important to know what steps you need to take to stay safe on the road."
To help consumers understand how recalls work and to ensure that they keep their car and therefore its occupants safe, Autotrader has set up a dedicated site to help consumers check if their vehicle is under recall and the actions they can take to fix it.