ATLANTA, July 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- High-profile auto recalls have been dominating headlines and can be confusing given the number of vehicles, automakers and other variables involved. Last year, there were close to 900 recalls affecting 51 million vehicles nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, NHTSA data shows on average 25 percent of recalled vehicles are left unrepaired every year. An Autotrader study found that only 47 percent of owners return their cars to a dealership for needed repairs after hearing about a recall.
"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."
In addition to recalls, consumers may also be affected by service campaigns. Autotrader provides information that helps consumers understand these terms and their differences, determine if their vehicles are affected, and navigate the recall and repair process.
Recalls are government-mandated actions that an automaker must take to address defects relating to motor vehicle safety and non-compliances with Federal Motor Vehicle Standards. Repairs required under a recall order are performed at no cost to consumers. In the interest of safety, any recall affecting your vehicle should be completed as soon as possible. Dealerships offer a range of remedies to consumers who have vehicles that can no longer be driven. Consumers should inquire about options such as long-term loaners or rentals and free vehicle storage for the affected vehicle.
Service campaigns address product technical issues that are not directly related to safety or compliance, e.g., emissions. Manufacturers are not required to notify consumers of these campaigns, but some do. Service campaigns are usually performed at no cost to consumers. When you take your vehicle to a dealership for routine service, be sure to ask if there are any service campaigns so that work can be taken care of at the same time.
A recent Cox Automotive study found that more than half of the respondents relied on maintenance, service or recall notifications from the dealership or the manufacturer. With purchase information and an existing relationship, dealers are uniquely positioned to provide consumer notification of vehicle service intervals and reminders on manufacturer recalls. As recalls are sending more consumers back to the dealerships, dealers are investing in technology to improve the customer experience in hopes that consumers will return for routine maintenance.
Manufacturers are required to notify vehicle owners of recalls but it's also important for owners to stay updated on car maintenance and regular inspections. You don't have to wait for notification and should proactively check for recalls and then sign up for future notifications via mobile app from NHTSA. You can easily find out if your car has been recalled by visiting your vehicle manufacturer's website, or going to safercar.gov and entering your vehicle identification number (VIN).
When your car has an open recall, you need to know the right steps to take to stay safe on the road. To learn more about recalls and for important links to recall look-up sites, visit "Car Recall: How to Navigate Through the Process" at Autotrader.com.
Autotrader is the most visited third-party car shopping site, with the most engaged audience of in-market shoppers. As the foremost authority on automotive consumer insights and expert in online and mobile marketing, Autotrader makes the car shopping experience easy and fun for today's empowered consumer looking to find or sell the perfect new, used or Certified Pre-Owned car. Using technology, shopper insights and local market guidance, Autotrader's comprehensive marketing solutions guide dealers to personalized digital marketing strategies that grow brand, drive traffic and connect the online and in-store shopping experience.
Autotrader is a Cox Automotive™ brand. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. For more information, please visit http://press.autotrader.com.
About Cox Automotive
Cox Automotive Inc. is transforming the way the world buys, sells and owns cars with industry-leading digital marketing, software, financial, wholesale and e-commerce solutions for consumers, dealers, manufacturers and the overall automotive ecosystem worldwide. Committed to open choice and dedicated to strong partnerships, the Cox Automotive family includes Autotrader®, Dealer.com®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital®, vAuto®, Xtime® and a host of other brands. The global company has nearly 30,000 team members in more than 200 locations and is partner to more than 40,000 auto dealers, as well as most major automobile manufacturers, while engaging U.S. consumer car buyers with the most recognized media brands in the industry. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, Inc., an Atlanta-based company with revenues of $18 billion and approximately 55,000 employees. Cox Enterprises' other major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications and Cox Media Group. For more information about Cox Automotive, visit www.coxautoinc.com.
 The NHTSA 2015 Annual Recalls Report
 The Autotrader 2015 Consumer Automotive Recall Study
 The 2015 Cox Automotive Maintenance and Repair Study