Why the U.S. hopes you check this week if your car has been recalled Federal regulators call the week before clocks change "Vehicle Safety Recalls Week." It's a reminder to check on NHTSA.gov or the SaferCar app to see if your car has been recalled.

It's time to move your clocks forward — and to check if your car is being recalled

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

This weekend, the clocks spring forward. That means it's time to check your smoke detectors, and while you're at it, how about checking for auto recalls? NPR's Camila Domonoske reports on a push to use daylight savings as a reminder about auto safety.

CAMILA DOMONOSKE, BYLINE: A safety recall is when an automaker announces a car has a potentially dangerous flaw that they will fix for free, and this happens all the time. Last year, there were 1,000 recalls affecting some 40 million vehicles. But sometimes owners don't realize their car was recalled, so they drive around with this risky problem. That's the logic behind Vehicle Safety Recalls Week, right before clocks change, when federal regulators urge everyone to add another item to their safety to-do list.

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UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: And checking for vehicle safety recalls. It's fast, and recall repairs are free.

DOMONOSKE: Vehicle Safety Recalls Week, which started in 2020, may not be common knowledge yet. Sophie Shulman is with NHTSA, the agency that manages recalls. And I asked her, have you thought of having, like, a jingle or a mascot?

SOPHIE SHULMAN: (Laughter) We will keep that in mind.

DOMONOSKE: She didn't seem enthused, but if you have a good Recalls Week jingle, send it my way. Auto recalls get issued for all kinds of things, flawed parts, bad designs, mistakes in the assembly process. And when a car doesn't get brought in for a fix, it can be a big problem. One example? Takata airbags, the giant recall that started more than a decade ago and ultimately covered some 67 million vehicles, cars with airbag inflators that can be deadly.

SHULMAN: And we do know that there are still millions of those out on the road. So that is a great example of why it's so important to check and see if you have those, if you have an open recall and to get it repaired immediately.

DOMONOSKE: Some people may have known about a recall but parts weren't available, or they had other problems getting a fix. But this week is all about nudging drivers to check on NHTSA's website or their SaferCar app, so at least they know if their car was recalled.

SHULMAN: Please go to our website, nhtsa.gov/recalls, nhtsa.gov/recalls. You can look it up based on your license plate number or your vehicle identification number.

DOMONOSKE: Vehicle identification number, also known as a VIN. Maybe that's useful for a jingle. When the clocks change, that's when - check for recalls with your VIN. We can workshop it. Camila Domonoske, NPR News.

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FADEL: That website was nhtsa.gov/recalls and the app is called SaferCar.

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