Safety Recalls

Vehicles can be recalled for a variety of reasons, including serious safety issues. It’s vitally important that vehicle owners take steps to ensure they’re aware if a vehicle they own, or are thinking of purchasing, is the subject of a recall so they can ensure the vehicle is repaired or serviced. Recalls are issued by vehicle manufacturers and are regulated federally by Transport Canada. While recalls are not issued by dealers, franchise dealers can be an excellent resource for information related to recalls.

Manufacturers are required to notify the original purchaser of issued recalls. If a car buyer purchased a used vehicle and didn’t take steps to contact the vehicle manufacturer to notify them that they are now the registered owner, that car buyer will likely not receive any recall notices that are issued.

Search for vehicle recalls

Check Transport Canada’s Road Safety Database to search for vehicle recalls. Motor vehicle owners can also visit the vehicle manufacturer websites, as many make recall information available there. However, it’s important to know that some manufacturers’ recall searches may not include Canadian vehicles.

Recalls for the same vehicle model can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a searchable database of U.S. issued recalls.

How to protect yourself

Car buyers who have purchased a used vehicle should contact their vehicle manufacturer’s customer service department to update their database with their contact information. To do this, car buyers will need to provide the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You can also contact the service department of a franchised dealer and ask them to update the manufacturer’s database.

General information

Dealers and private sellers can legally sell vehicles with outstanding recalls. So it’s vital that car buyers take steps to educate and protect themselves by searching for recalls and ensuring they are registered with the vehicle manufacturer to ensure receipt of future recall notices.

Vehicle owners who believe a safety-related defect is affecting their vehicle should report the problem to Transport Canada by completing their Defect Complaint Form or call 1-800-333-0510.